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Self-justification, or false state

Self-justification, or false state

12.04.2018
Tags: Religion, Christianity


Christ before Pilate. Pilate washes Christ's hands before Pilate. Pilate washes his hands

Like it or we do not like it, but most people are such that they prefer to evaluate all their actions and actions exclusively on the positive side. In everyday life, we constantly try to justify ourselves, reduce the degree of our guilt or at least relieve the burden of responsibility from our shoulders, often shifting it to others. The vital position, consisting in constant self-justification, leads a person to the fact that he always turns a blind eye to his shortcomings and weaknesses, even to the point that he can gradually stop seeing them.

However, some psychologists regard this phenomenon as one of the most important protective mechanisms protecting the human psyche from the impact of negative circumstances. Thus, in fact, if not inevitable, then it is a sort of necessity, at least in some cases, for active self-justification.

In the Orthodox consciousness self-justification is a disastrous sin

In the Orthodox consciousness self-justification is a fatal sin. The meaning of this vice is that a person does not see, or rather, does not want to see guilt, does not recognize his sinfulness. In the eyes of other people, such a person tries to look untainted, while at the same time considering himself a model in all respects. All this suggests that at the heart of self-justification lies the passion of pride, that is, the exclusive isolation of a person on his person. With this understanding, it seems to him that everything revolves around him, everything reaches out to him, and he feels himself at the center of everything and gives everything the impulse of life. In this state, a person only attributes to himself the truth, and everything that does not agree with his opinion, considers it not worthy of attention, wrong and unfair. Removing the blame from himself, the culprit of troubles and sorrows, such a person does anyone or anything.

The Scriptures show that self-justification is the result of a fall. In response to Adam's question about whether he ate from the forbidden tree, Adam does not dare to tell the truth, he does not follow the path of repentance, but begins to justify himself, putting the blame on Eve, and then on the serpent. So there is a desire to see sin in another person, trying not to notice it in yourself. It seems that many people are familiar with this state. It is especially evident in confession. And then this kind of confession itself becomes a sin and testifies against us before God. Priest Alexander Elchaninov, noting this feature, said that if a person in confession is seeking self-justification, makes attempts to explain to the confessor "mitigating circumstances, refers to third persons who have made a sin, [if his behavior shows] the absence of deep repentance (without tears) continuing in sin, all this speaks of self-love "[1].

According to the thought of St. Paisius the Sacred, the one who seeks for justification in everything is in a "false state ... and drives away the Divine grace" [2].

Self-justification is the core of self-esteem, and therefore pride. In order to begin to fight against self-justification, a person must first acknowledge that he has this terrible disease, see it in himself and be inspired to fight it. An important ascetic work, capable of helping a person in this struggle, is self-immolation. The Holy Fathers regard self-baptism as part of a clever doing, counteracting the "morbid property of a fallen human being, according to which all people try to show themselves as righteous" [3]. Great benefit will be for a person when he begins to justify others and reproach himself. In this case, he will look for the causes of all the ills in himself, his sinful inclinations, falls, and not in the external circumstances and actions of other people.

When it seems that there is injustice everywhere, and a person, being convinced of his rightness, is offended and resentful of others, it is important not to confine himself to this, but to direct his thought in the right direction. You need to find the cause of the problems not in others, but in yourself, remember all past sins and begin to mourn for them in your own soul. It is important to seek excuses from God, and not justify Himself.


[1] Elchaninov Alexander, Holy. Orthodoxy for many. Excerpts from the diary and other records. M: Dar, 2013. S. 248.

[2] Paisius of the Holy Trinity, Rev. The fact that self-justification drives away the grace of God from us

[3] Compositions of Bishop Ignatius (Bryanchaninov). T. I. The ascetic experiments. 3 ed. St. Petersburg, 1905. S. 320.

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