The word “snob” comes from my part of the world and my time when people still talked about class warfare as though it was something which could be controlled and managed.
We all want to think that we are better than someone else: we are all snobs, Christian or non-Christian. At least, there are very few exceptions among us. The pretty woman wants to be seen to be prettier than other women. The macho man wants to be seen to be more macho than other men. People race their cars to be seen to be faster than someone else. The “righteous”want to be seen to be more righteous than someone else.
Even Karl Marx, the man who claimed to want only one class in humanity, was looking down his nose at people who he considered to be inferior to him intellectually: the bourgeoisie, the Church, the Christians. He thought that because they thought they were better than him it meant that he was better than them. People have been murdered by the millions, whose perceived crime was snobbery, and whose murderers didn’t realize that they were performing the ultimate act of snobbery. The politicians and wealthy individuals who are now pushing their brand of politics (yes, including socialism) onto everyone believe that they are better than the rest of us who don’t share their views.
We all secretly or openly look down our noses at those who are not like us, who don’t think like us, or who don’t do things the way we do. We sneer at those who don’t have such an expensive car, or who don’t dress quite so sharply, or who didn’t have the right kind of education, or who live in the wrong part of town, or who vote the wrong way, or who don’t like our kind of music, or who don’t use street language in some cool and impressive style.
I would like to say that this attitude is not to be found in the church, but unfortunately, it’s as rife in the church as out of it, and more so in certain denominations and cults claiming to be Christian. I’ve had people in the church literally turn their backs on me or sneer and move away when I told them what my occupation was. Some Christians are snobs because they think they give more, or because they go to church more often, or because they follow a certain minister, or because they think they have more of the Holy Spirit than others do. This is ungodly pride, just as surely as looking down our noses at those poorer than us is ungodly pride.
Now I’m not here making a comment about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Non-Christians will claim that we Christians think we are better than everyone else because we claim to hold to the only truth and see other religions and beliefs as being false. Unfortunately, many Christians can give the impression that our faith is one of self-righteousness in the way they live and treat other people. But while it is true that there is only one way to heaven, this does not make Christians any “better” than anyone else: we are all on the same level in God’s sight, and too many Christians and church-goers miss this.
Jesus Christ died for sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). All of us (all, all, all, as in “all”) were by nature separated from God and on our way to judgment (Romans 6:23). Everyone has sinned, and there are no exceptions (Romans 3:9-12). Therefore, in the eyes of God, we will all only get escape that judgment because of God’s mercy (Romans 3:21-27).
Jesus Christ chose poor fishermen as his disciples, not university professors, celebrities or wealthy philanthropists. He associated with “sinners” and those frowned upon by people who considered themselves to be better (Luke 15:2). Paul was a tent-maker. Most of the prophets lived in caves and deserts and were despised by the rulers and the elite. Jesus himself was a carpenter-not a successful business man.
Mike Warnke put it this way. He said that after he gave his testimony in church one day, a man condescendingly said to him, “Boy, I was bad, but I wasn’t as bad as you!” Mike replied, “Yeah, and I was going to the same hell as you were!”
We will not find in heaven that the pope is still the pope, or that the bishops are still the bishops, or that the beautiful are still the beautiful people and have the biggest or the best mansions, or that the people who had the most money or the best education or the most ostensibly successful and popular ministries, or the most expensive car on earth will be our rulers and our superiors. This is a troubling concept for those who base their whole view of the world on ungodly principles of prejudice and judgment.
And such utterances as these, by Jesus himself, are rarely chosen as sermon material in our churches:
“…woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry…Woe to you when all men speak well of you…” (Luke 6:24-26).
James addressed snobbery:
Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say “Here’s a good seat for you”, but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “sit on the floor by my feet”, have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? (James 2:1-4).
So it’s time we all started living with the attitude which God requires of us, that is, that we are brothers and sisters, equal in His sight and saved by His mercy and righteousness alone, and not at all because we are “better” in any way…we are not.