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Clean In Their Own Eyes

Proverbs 30:12 (ESV) – There are those who are clean in their own eyes but are not washed of their filth.

We live in a world of self-righteousness. What does that mean? It means that everyone believes they are righteous and holy in their ways. People believe they have the truth. They live as if their definitions of justice, peace, and freedom are reality. But not everyone can be right. Not everyone is righteous before the Maker. As God looks upon the world and those who are in it, He does not find universal righteousness, but the opposite. He finds many who live in defiance of His revealed will and ways. 

This is the subject of our passage today. The proverbs are filled with axioms and principles for wise living. Often, they reveal truth to us about how the world works. They often provide insight into human nature and behavior. We see that in Proverbs 30:12. We read, “There are those who are clean in their own eyes but are not washed of their filth.”

The proverb writer tells us that there are people in the world who are clean in their own eyes. What does this mean? It is not a reference to their hygiene or external cleanliness. It is a description of their souls. God sees them as filthy. They are not washed from their lawless deeds and careless words. Their thoughts, actions, and lives are far from righteous. They do not live holy. They think they are one thing when in reality they are another. 

This proverb perfectly captures the condition of our world. Our culture reeks of this error. Most people today believe in their own righteousness and right-standing before God. They are wrong.

Apart from the forgiveness Jesus provides sinners, they stand condemned. Apart from being washed in the blood of the Savior, their filth remains. This is why the church must continue standing in a world of error to proclaim the truth. 

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Do you know people who think they are clean when in reality they are not? Do you see it on social media and the news each day? Let every display of this reality lead you to humility and repentance before the LORD. Recognize that apart from the grace of God, you too would be self-righteous and confident in your own works. Pray for people who live this way. Speak truth to them with grace and kindness. Perhaps the Lord will grant repentance that leads to life and godliness. 

Reflection & Journal:
- Why is it so common for people to trust in their own self-righteousness?
- What are examples of people in the culture who are clean in their own eyes?
- How can we guard our own lives from falling into this trap?  

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