Excerpt from No One Really Minds When You Criticize Others by Joshua Gibbs at Circe Institue:
However, the man who criticizes himself makes us quite nervous. St. Francis of Assisi and Simeon Stylites were perhaps the greatest self-critics who ever lived, and they are commonly accused of being mad. The man who willingly risks blindness, frostbite, and death to climb the Matterhorn is a brave hero, but the man who risks blindness to climb Mt Purgatory is delusional. We are content that a man should risk life and limb for earthly glory, but the man who submits his body to a little rigor in order to conquer his temptations is self-righteous. Our blood gets itchy when we hear of a man who hates his sin so much that he is willing to do something about it. The man who criticizes himself is criticizing me in a way I cannot easily escape.
I have angered otherwise pleasant strangers several times in the last several years, usually evangelists who accosted me while I lived in Florida and demanded to know, “Are you certain you are saved?” I replied, “I hope I am saved. I have faith I am saved. I love my salvation. But I am certain of nothing.” I argued with one such fellow for a few minutes in the produce section of a supermarket, and in the end, he angrily said, “You can go to hell,” and shoved his cart away. Ambrose Bierce was never so rude to me. [emphasis mine]
Just something I ran across which made me think. I suspect Mr. Gibbs is a kindred spirit.