What is the difference between moralizing and righteousness?

The Guide: It depends how the words are used. It is a matter of interpretation. “Righteousness” is often used, for instance, in Scripture as doing the right thing and being good. But in more recent times, this word has taken on a different meaning for many people. When they use it, they think of self-righteousness, of the very moralizing character I have discussed.

In fact, this usage is appropriate because righteousness is often actually self-righteousness because it stems from the wrong attitude we have just discussed in detail. It is a different way of saying that a false goodness, a forceful, insincere one, produces a moralizing that many people rebel against. Genuine goodness, coming out of real growth, will never have this effect on others.

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