Snobs are people who look down on other people. With the recent election season concluding this past week, I am near certain if any of the candidates running for office were point-blank questioned, “Are you a snob? Do you consider yourself better than others?” each candidate would answer with a resounding, emphatic, “No!” However, the campaign ads, speeches, debates, and rallies polluted the air with such a vast amount of pretentiousness, arrogance, haughtiness, condescension, and flat-out disrespect one would be hard pressed to describe the entire season as something other than a season of snobbery!! Social media feeds were abuzz on election day not with celebrations of elections won but simply of the fact the negativity, mud-slinging, and posturing would be finally, at least momentarily, fading from the public eye.
Snobbery could be best be defined as a lack of humility. Humility is freedom from pride or arrogance. Although deficiencies in humility may perhaps be most prevalent and easiest to identify in the political realm, the lack thereof can be found nearly any where. The greatest cause of snobbery and lack of humility I believe is comparison. We live life constantly comparing ourselves to others to see how we measure up. Even those who would deny their own personal snobbery and claim humility are susceptible to the quick sand of comparison. I’ve never been one to intentionally display arrogance or intentionally be disrespectful to anyone, but, in my former life, mentally measuring my attitudes, behaviors, and activities against those shown by others was a constant way of life. Living in such a manner is a life of constantly judging others and determining if either it’s someone you are better than or someone you should aspire to be. It’s a life of false humility. There may be no outward manifestations of the mental courtroom in which you personally try each person you encounter, but nonetheless each person stands before the judge in your head as you determine their value, your value in comparison to theirs, and exactly where each of you stand in regards to each other and, of course, who may be closer to God.
I shared in my last post for the first time in my life I know who I am and I am comfortable in my own skin. The irony in that statement is for all intents and purposes to most I encounter I’m the same person and they would never know there’s anything different. The difference lies in realizing good enough doesn’t exist and I am human and so are you. Once those realizations are made, the internal judging and comparison has come to an end. There is no longer a separation of me versus you, us versus them, people I’m better than versus people I should strive to be.
Paul defines living in humility in Philippians chapter 2:
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
I began this post with a sentence from a daily email I received this week taken from the words of Frederick Buechner. I would like to conclude with the entire passage I received:
Snobs are people who look down on other people, but that does not justify our looking down on them. Who can say what dark fears of being inferior lurk behind their superior airs or what they suffer in private for the slights they dish out in public?
Don’t look down on them for looking down on us. Look at them, instead, as friends we don’t know yet and who don’t yet know what they are missing in not knowing us.
May we all learn to love our neighbors as ourselves.