What do snobs and limp handshakes have in common? The short answer is that they are two of my biggest pet peeves. In some cases they go hand in hand…no pun intended. And yes, since these are two of my biggest, it means I have more. Hey, I’m working on it.
Snobs have a superiority complex, perhaps driven by an underlying inferiority, and perhaps not. They have the ability to make the victims of their snobbery feel inadequate, rejected and just not good enough. These are the mean girls in high school, the neighborhood bullies, the captain of the clique at work, and the holier than thou warming the pew every Sunday at your local church.
Several years ago I attended a conference at an upscale hotel and during my stay my daughters spent their time working out in the fitness room. One day, after our sessions were finished, they shared a story of three such women.
There was a line of treadmills and only a few were occupied when a female guest of the hotel stepped onto one of them and before she could begin her workout one of these three women informed her that they were saving it. She stepped down, headed for another one and was told the same thing. A third try brought similar results. After several attempts to use what she had paid good money for, what was available to all, she finally said, “You can’t save them all.” They mimicked and mocked her, laughing in that haughty manner that most of us have encountered at one time or another.
It just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, doesn’t it?
My most recent personal experience with it involved a woman who I know only by face and name, but we encountered each other on a weekly basis. Several times I had passed her and I would smile and greet her, only to be ignored. I gave her the benefit of the doubt because I have a tendency to look right at people and still not see them. But the next encounter left me confident that the snub was intentional. We both stood alone in the bathroom no more than three feet apart. I smiled and said, “Hi, how are you?” She promptly turned around and with a cool expression she looked me up and down then turned her back on me, saying nothing.
Part of me wanted to laugh at the ridiculous shunning, the other part of me wanted to say a few words and put her in her place. I did neither. I walked out. Sometimes a truthful word to the individual is in order, but other times silence is better than what might spew out of your mouth. I try to train myself to pray for people like this. Not the kinds of things I really want to pray, but the kind of prayer God would be pleased with, the kind that might change them and keep me from hanging onto any animosity.
If you are someone who has been trampled on by this snarky type, it’s easy to let this kind of behavior eat at you. But when you think about it, you shouldn’t let your self-worth be determined by mere humans whose egos are on steroids. Your value was determined before you were born and it’s a high one. Once you can grasp that truth, what other people think, say, or do, won’t faze you.
If you think that’s hard to do, consider the fact that you also need to love these unlovable creatures. I’m not suggesting you be a doormat or invite them to dinner, but I’m talking about loving them with the kind of love in 1 Corinthians 13…the love that suffers long and is kind, the love that isn’t rude and is not provoked. The kind that doesn’t get even.
Love your enemies and bless those who curse you, “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 43:46-48