Perhaps an even more telling gauge of our self-righteousness is the stance from which we offer our forgiveness to those who have wronged us. Is our forgiveness offered from a pedestal?
When sinned against, it is easy to occupy a superior position, extending forgiveness like a benevolent dictator to those who demonstrate their sincere repentance. Our stance is top down; our demeanor is paternalistic; our attitude is self-righteous.
In Matthew 6:1-18, Jesus contrasted true piety with people-pleasing religiosity. Speaking about prayer, Jesus delivered a stern warning about forgiveness. Forgiveness, he said, is a natural and necessary fruit of our having been forgiven by God. We must forgive those who sin against us, not like benevolent dictators from the top down but rather as fellow sinners from the bottom up.