Another danger that we need to avoid is described at Ecclesiastes 7:16: “Do not become righteous overmuch, nor show yourself excessively wise. Why should you cause desolation to yourself?” The inspired Bible writer then goes on, as noted in verse 20, to give us a reason for avoiding such an attitude: “For there is no man righteous in the earth that keeps doing good and does not sin.” The person who becomes “righteous overmuch” sets his own standards for righteousness and judges others by them. Yet, he fails to realize that by doing so, he is elevating his standards above those of God and thereby proving himself to be unrighteous in God’s sight.
Being “righteous overmuch,” or as some Bible translations put it, being “excessively righteous” or “overrighteous,” could even cause us to question Jehovah’s way of handling matters. We need to remember, though, that if we question the fairness or rightness of Jehovah’s decisions, we are, in effect, starting to put our standard of righteousness above Jehovah’s standard. It is as if we put Jehovah on trial and judged him by our own standards of right and wrong. But Jehovah is the one who has the right to set the standard for righteousness, not us!—Rom. 14:10.
Although none of us would deliberately want to judge God, our imperfect nature can lead us down this path. This can easily happen when we see something that we view as unfair or if we personally suffer hardship. Even the faithful man Job made this mistake. Job was initially described as “blameless and upright, and fearing God and turning aside from bad.” (Job 1:1) But then Job was beset by a series of calamities that to him, appeared to be unfair. This led Job to declare “his own soul righteous rather than God.” (Job 32:1, 2) Job had to have his viewpoint corrected. So we should not be surprised if, at times, we might find ourselves in a similar situation. If that happens, what can help us to readjust our thinking?