Of pride and prejudice

Confession time. There’s something I continue to repeatedly do even though I know it is clearly wrong.

I prejudge people.

Like the other morning. I’m at a stoplight and waiting to cross the street is a young family with two little kids and two very big dogs. My first thought was something along the lines of, ‘snobbish townies trying to look cool.’ I didn’t actually formulate any words in my mind describing them, but I did formulate an attitude.

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit convicted me rather quickly of my prejudice, as He always does, and I confessed it right away. It’s a sin that He has had His finger on, so to speak, for awhile now, and I’ve made some progress, but I still have a ways to go.

When I stop to consider why I do that, I discern a gnawing sense of insecurity and inferiority, not uncommon among human beings. So, every time I regard someone else negatively, it tends to give my self-image a boost. Because at least I don’t try to look cool. And I’m not stuck up and snobbish. Or am I? If I’m looking down on others, thinking myself better, isn’t that what being a snob is? Yikes. Busted.

At the time I don’t see it as looking down on anyone, just making an observation. But it’s not just an observation. All I observed that morning was a young family and their pets standing on a sidewalk. I do not know them, never met them. I have no basis for judging their attitudes or motivations.

Now, of course, my initial assessment might be correct, but even if they are snobs, my judgmental attitude is wrong nonetheless.

The guilt that I feel when I am convicted has the potential to drive me into more sinful judging so as to once  more boost my sagging self-image. But God says, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12. I do know that being exalted by God would be much more advantageous than exalting myself.

So, with His help, I am learning to look at my fellow human beings as He does, with love instead of criticism. And to humbly consider others better than myself, not allowing a sense of inferiority to weigh me down but rather put me in a perfect position to be lifted up by my loving Father.

Like they say in the excavating business, what goes up must first go down.