Have you ever thought through the evils of self-justification?
It can feel so innocent when indulged.
Someone accuses you of a wrong, and you react in anger and unleash a torrent of reasons and explanations as to why you are right.
Or you feel misunderstood, and you spend hours ruminating in your own mind about all the reasons why you’re right.
Or you worry about what other people think, and spend considerable time and effort explaining yourself and justifying your actions, when a simple short explanation would suffice.
The extent of how evil self-justification is hit me when studying this passage from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Mary Baker Eddy wrote,
“Self-love is more opaque than a solid body. In patient obedience to a patient God, let us labor to dissolve with the universal solvent of Love the adamant of error, — self-will, self-justification, and self-love, — which wars against spirituality and is the law of sin and death” (page 242).
Self-justification is self-love. It yells to the world, “I’m beholden to myself more than anything else.”
Self-love is the opposite of God-love. You can’t love God with your whole heart when your primary goal is to justify a mortal self and stance. Focus on defending self is the opposite of loving and trusting God. It’s love of the one Ego versus self-absorption into the vain mortal ego.
Self-justification is an “adamant of error,” which would prop up suffering and make it appear unyielding.
A dictionary definition of self-justification is: the act or fact of justifying oneself, especially of offering excessive reasons, explanations, excuses, etc., for an act, thought, or the like.
Eddy also lists self-justification along with the ugliest and worst characteristics of mortal mind. On page 115 of Science and Health, we find,
First Degree: Depravity.
Physical. Evil beliefs, passions and appetites, fear, depraved will, self-justification, pride, envy, deceit, hatred, revenge, sin, sickness, disease, death.
Self-justification is not good. It’s evil. It’s wise not to indulge it, but learn to love and trust God more.