SISTER SELF-RIGHTEOUS

I get really frustrated with people in churches who feel that it’s their job to constantly police what others are doing around them. They feel like it’s their calling to make sure that others are doing things correctly and straighten them out if they are not. Thankfully, I’m finding fewer and fewer of these people everyday.

Years ago, while preaching at a little church I knew quite well, I was met at the back of the auditorium by Sister Self-righteous. She was the self appointed worship police. In the past, her big “spiritual” concerns about others had included important issues (sarcasm) like how someone was dressed on a Sunday morning, who was chewing gum while serving communion, long hair on men, and who was talking too much during services. But this time she had a new concern. She’d actually seen someone taking communion that might not have been a member of her church. She said, “Trey, I saw someone taking communion this morning, and I don’t think they are Christians. Maybe someone should talk to them about who is and who isn’t supposed to take communion. Because if they’re taking communion and they’re not Christians, aren’t they jeopardizing their souls?”

Her words immediately stabbed me in the heart. I felt frustration and anger begin to build up inside of me. I was guessing that instead of spending her communion time thinking of the Lord’s sacrifice for her soul, she was once again busy policing what everyone around her was doing.
Choosing my words carefully and trying not to come across too sarcastic, I said, “Let me see. People taking communion that aren’t Christians and it jeopardizes their soul?”
“That’s right,” she snapped.
I replied, “Well if they’re not Christians like you say, then they’re not going to heaven anyway are they? So why don’t we just leave those good people alone and let them take communion.”
“Hmm,” she said looking puzzled, “I haven’t thought about it that way.” And out the door she went.
I pray and ask for the Lord to help me be patient with the self-righteous people of the world. But my biggest concern is that I don’t want those outside the church to think that the church is made up of people like this. Self-righteousness turns away, and often runs off, those seeking Christ.
Thankfully, what I’ve found is that the self-righteous people in the church are the minority, and for the most part, the church is made up of the kindest and most caring Christ-like people in the world. People who make me proud to say, “I’m a Christian.”

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
19 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Bill says:

    Yes. We all know this woman. No doubt, we’ve followed in her footsteps, as well. Well, I know some people who have ***grin***. I know I have!

    Seriously, may we all prayerfully and carefully seek just the right words to let those whose souls are in jeopardy know how much God loves them and wants them to enter into everlasting communion with Him!

    God bless,
    Bill

  2. Donna G says:

    I just hope they are not the loudest voice that represents the church. But having been recently stung by said “sister” I know it gives the wrong view of what a Christian should be about…

  3. Jason Browning says:

    Great thoughts Trey. To me one of the most embarrasing aspects of it all, is how much I used to be this way myself. I am so grateful that the congregation where I am has been so patient with me. I still have a lot of growing to do.

    Now my main concern and prayer, is that I don’t get so combative to the other extreme. It is frustrating to see “brotherhood police.” But I guess now I have to be careful not to be argumentative with them, because then I have only stooped to their level.

    My last couple of posts at my blogsite have been pretty similar to this very subject, one of them being a reference to your blog yesterday.

    Keep up your good work, Trey. I appreciate you.

  4. Jenn says:

    We have been dealing with different variants of this sister in different areas of our church. It can get very discouraging. It makes me so grateful for those who go out of their way to be kind and gentle with other!

  5. terry says:

    You are a wise man, Trey. I may have spouted off something different and have gotten me into hot water!

    Blessings,
    Terry

  6. cwinwc says:

    Great post Bro. Several months ago we started playing that “At Our Church” video that starts with the words, “Buckle up.” At one point in the video the Narrator says, “At our church we will not display a “holier than thou” attitude. We are all broken people being put back together by the love of Christ.” I have had a few people ask if we’re going to continue playing that video.

    I’m convince the legalism that Paul battled in the churches of Galatia, your encounter with that lady, and things that have happened to all of us in that area should remind us that legalism is only a breath away at any church. Legalism is too easy for many to avoid vs. worshipping in the “Spirit and Truth” that John wrote about where we take off our masks before God and each other.

  7. Angie says:

    Where do I begin? I have been “her”. The poor guy I married had to live with her for a very long time. Thankfully I was allowed to discover what a church and I could be without “her” in our lives.

    Now I recognize that “she” almost single-handedly has the power to set the tone and energy in a place…an energy that either draws in and invigorates or repels and drains.

    I do not understand the desperation thinking that traps many churches into tolerating this, especially when it leads to slow but certain death of a church. You were very courageous (and wise) in your choice to address it directly. Many are so concerned with offending the offensive that they shrug shoulders acceptingly and allow it to proliferate.

    Wonder what she’d say about the hunk of bread and giant cup of grape juice that has become our communion? (grin) No, not a mid-service snack….just so much more of Jesus than a tiny taste can offer.

  8. Tucker says:

    What I know is, there is great hope for the legalistic, judgmental types of the church. I enjoy hearing the stories of those who were once that way, but have seen the errors of that attitude. Jesus once said, “I did not come to judge the world, but to save it!” What makes me think I can judge? I’d rather be like Jesus and show others his power to save, even Sister Self-Righteous.

  9. Monalea says:

    You have hit on a really touchy subject in my life right now. I think my head is going to explode if one more “well-meaning,” “just trying to help” person tells me what someone said about me, my husband or others; just to be helpful. Do you have any advice on what to say to them????? Their words are not edifying, as they presume, but add stress upon stress.!

  10. Cecelia says:

    Unfortunately,I know WAY TOO MANY OF HER KIND.Thanks for sharing that.You too, see it and you’re a pastor.
    Because of these type of people, the last 2.5 years of my life have been unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

  11. Stoogelover says:

    There seems to be one in every congregation. We grew up in that kind of religious background and, thankfully, most of us made our way out of it by the grace of God.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I usually really enjoy your blog. I know I’m in the minority today but I really felt that I had to comment on this.
    “Way too many of HER kind”
    “Sister self righteous”
    “she”
    “brotherhood police.”
    “them”
    “I have only stooped to their level.”
    “these type of people”
    “stung by said “sister”

    It seems to me that the lady in question was not the only one in this room being shown to use stinging judgement. Aren’t you all glad you’re better than her?

    “They feel like it’s their calling to make sure that others are doing things correctly and straighten them out if they are not.”

    After many years in churches I don’t know that this is such a straightforward statement Trey. Most people who mention these things are honestly motivated by a sense of concern. Perhaps intrusive, perhaps misguided but concern none the less.
    There’s so much more to the story than just a nosy old bat who needs to shut up.

    Finally…
    “Thankfully, I’m finding fewer and fewer of these people everyday”
    I think this saddened me more than anything. “These people” are imperfect like the rest of us. And sometimes they need to be a part of a loving church more than the rest of us “perfect” parishoners. They need more love than we feel they deserve and more patience than we feel able to give.

    In short, this blog entry and some of the comments are just as judgmental as the behaviour you were trying to hightlight.

  13. TREY MORGAN says:

    Anonymous – Thanks for your comment. Even though I may not agree with you on everything, I do see you point. Thanks for taking time to share it and challenge my thinking on this.

    Blessings

  14. Anonymous says:

    I hope others do not think of me in that way.

    We are too often so highly skilled at finding perceived faults in others that we miss seeing the blessings that surround us.

    I want to be better at seeing (and recognizing) the blessings that are around me.

    thanks Trey

    Rob

  15. Lightening says:

    You’re a wise man Trey Morgan. I love that you were able to challenge her thinking lovingly and without putting her down in any way. I hope I can come up with loving responses when I come across similar attitudes.

  16. Amy says:

    I am so blessed to have such a great preacher!

  17. RDeFir says:

    It bothers me too when people worry so much about others doing what they are supposed to instead of themselves. You know if those people taking communion weren’t Christians, at least they were in the right place to maybe make the change!! Be thankful for that!
    *Sheesh, I’m glad I’M not like HER!! *totally a joke*

  18. Gabrielle Eden says:

    Good post!

  19. Brian H. says:

    This is a great post Trey. But how dare you actually put a picture of Sister Self-Righteous in your post. What if she or someone in her family sees it? Again, I say, “HOW DARE YOU?”

    LOL

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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