The Dangers Of Being Self-Righteous


Evangelicalism, although it originated as an alternative to mainline liberalism and fundamentalism, itself has both liberal and fundamentalist constituents. Nowhere is this dualism more evident than in the area of sin. Philip Yancey observed a gay-rights parade in Washington, D.C., in which gays tried to justify their lifestyle in Christian love, while some conservative Christians resorted to name calling and hate-filled taunting. Is either side right? What is the Christian approach to sin?

Table of Contents

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 1:26–27; Matthew 7:1–5, 9:9–13, 23:1–7, 23–28; Luke 18:10–14; John 8:1–11; Romans 1:26–2:4, 3: 22–23; Galatians 6:1–2; Ephesians 4:14–16; James 3:7–10


  • The Issue

Sample questions:

Yancey vividly describes the behavior of a small group of Christians toward some gay marchers. Why do you think some Christians behave like this?

Why is it dangerous to overlook or rationalize a sin in our efforts to try to reach the sinner?

  • The Scriptures

Sample Scriptures:

Read John 8:1–11, a passage that, though missing from many early manuscripts, the church has historically considered a true story about Jesus.

Read Matthew 9:9–13. What does Jesus example tell us about dealing with those who’s lifestyle we disagree with?

  • The Application

Sample application question:

Joy Davidman used to say that Christians are not necessarily more “moral” than anyone else in the world, just more forgiven. What is your reaction to this statement in light of the Scriptures you have just studied?