How To Avoid Self Righteousness

I struggle with self-righteousness.  That can be dangerous when you are a leader, especially a leader of young minds and hearts.  My self-righteousness comes from when I feel my ministry is threatened by another youth ministry, weekend sports, the NFL, etc.  It’s fueled by jealousy (Jealous of the other guy? Read this.) that comes when I see people not choosing “ME”.  I’ll find the flaws of my competition, tear it apart and then justify what I’m doing as “Holier Than Thou”.


As a leader you need to keep your self righteousness in check.  Whether it comes from jealousy, pride, insecurity, or self doubt, it needs to be addressed.  If not you’ll find:

  • Numbers Dwindle
  • Loyalty Diminish
  • Frustration Drive You
  • Productivity Disappear

Self righteousness distracts you from your vision and mission and puts the focus on YOU.  If you want to avoid the destruction that self righteousness causes, then you’ll want to make sure you take the necessary steps to address it:

STEP #1 – NAME IT: You might try to justify your actions or blame someone else for perpetuating your judgmental nature; however, in reality, you need to own it.  Your excuses for judging others will just turn people away.  The best way to overcome any sin is to address it head on and confront its existence.  You can’t address a problem when you are in denial.

STEP #2 – THINK POSITIVE:  Whether your self-righteousness is caused by jealousy or pride you need to weed out the negative.  The best way to do this is by complimenting your competition.  Talk about the other youth ministry’s positive aspects.  Point out what the parents of your teens are doing right instead of focusing on what they do wrong.  It might be a “fake till you make it” mentality; however, the more you can focus on the positive the easier it will be to embrace (Instead of judging) the other person.

STEP #3 – EMBRACE ACCOUNTABILITY:  Like any sin, you cannot battle it on your own.  The best way to battle this sin as a leader is to have people you trust to call you out.  They’ll be able to pull you aside in private to address your concerns.  To get this group you need to give permission to people you trust.  When they have permission they’ll have the confidence to take you off your high horse.

STEP #4 – CONFESS IT:  While admitting to yourself that you have a problem is the first step, the next step is to share it with others.  Part of the reason why I’m writing this is because I’ve struggled greatly with this sin recently.  When you confess it publicly you allow others to pray for you.  You give it over to God and release it from your heart (Where it’ll do the most damage.)

A great leader is one filled with humility (Are you a humble professional? Read here) who loves those around him or her.  Whether it’s pride, jealousy or self-doubt fueling your self-righteousness it will take you down as a leader.  It’s important to find the people around you who will support you and love you.  Do not take it on alone.

How do you combat self-righteousness? What are signs that you are becoming too prideful?


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I have to try to remember that God works in other ways besides JUST through me.

    In my last ministry, we had a program on Sunday nights and two (very excellent) families who wouldn’t participate because Sunday night was their family night.

    I felt threatened, but the truth was, those kids were getting EXACTLY the thing they needed to continue their walk.

    • It’s amazing how we’ll fight things that are good for our teens to feed our own pride. Just another reminder it isn’t always about us.