There is no greater sin than being right, in this world. Adolf Hitler earned the title of being the worst tyrant of the twentieth century. But some people may respect Hitler for standing for what he thought was right. He still believed in his convictions and committed suicide before he could be captured. He died truly believing that he was right. There are many, like him, causing a lot of suffering to other people, without seeing wrongness in what they would be doing.
This world grants recognition to those standing for what they believe to be right. That is not, necessarily, what grants the heavenly crown. The rightness of one’s conviction is different from the rightness of Jesus. Following the rightness of Jesus is different from the rightness out of one’s own conviction. Scriptures reveal that the righteousness of humanity is likened to filthy rags.
Our own late former president, Robert Mugabe could not be shaken by what he stood for, assuming he was right. Many people supported him, even from outside our borders. But, fortunately for him, he gave a mild admission of having been wrong, before his death. One hopes that his admittance was genuine and sufficient for God to forgive him of all sins committed during his leadership. Otherwise, Gehenna would be waiting for him. The same applies to the late former apartheid president of South Africa.
Some self-righteous people may have not accepted F. de Klerk’s apology, as not publicly expressed before his death. But one assumes he may escape Gehenna, reserved for those maintaining being right. What should be important is that he died after having noticed the wrongness of what he had considered right. His accusers may be those maintaining the assumption of being right. But for such “righteous” people, Gehenna is waiting for them, unless they repent.
Worst criminals die with the conviction of being right. The sins of humanity are engrossed in assuming being right when making others wrong. Such people can be respected for their stands, but Gehenna would be waiting for them. Biblical evidence is revealed in granting deliverance to a tax collector, admitting wrongness, rather than the Pharisee maintaining rightness.
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men-robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:10-14 NIV).
The righteous Pharisee was condemned, yet the tax collector admitting being sinful was justified. The tax collector was forthright in admitting his sinfulness, without saying many words. This is how the sinful tax collector accessed God’s mercy, confirming what God expects of humanity.