Wednesday, August 12, 2009

spiritual snobbery

I met with a couple of people yesterday and our conversation meandered into the discussion of spiritual snobbery. It was easy for the three of us, who were pretty like minded, to see how some people, even some churches, get wrapped up in religious legalism and the perceived DOs and DON'Ts. They then have a sense of superiority of who they are over those who don't measure up to their expectations, or what they feel like God expects of each one of us.

I thought about our discussion the rest of the day. I could instantly think of people that I could and would put into this category. I thought about those people and tried to figure out why they viewed their religion and life in the manner that they did. I am so far from the DOs and DON'Ts and the righteous judgment of others when it comes to being a Christian.

Or am I? I realized, as I was having this conversation in my head, I was judging. I realized, if I was honest with myself, I had to put myself in that same group of spiritual snobs. I try really hard not to judge, but it was obvious that I was doing a little of that at this moment. At this point, my thoughts changed tracks a little. What does God expect from me when it comes to my spirituality and sharing my faith with others?

I honestly don't feel like I come on too strong and make people feel judged when it comes their faith, but I had to wonder if I wasn't coming on strong enough. Maybe God wants me to speak up more, get more in people's faces, preach the Biblical truths every moment of every day, and make sure my friends and acquaintances all know that the end may be coming soon and heaven and hell are real places.

The more I thought about this, the more I realized I do all these things, but in a way that is appropriate for my personality. I realized that my spirituality is between me and God, and I need to remember that about others. I have certain opinions, but so do others. I can be turned off by how some people choose to show their faith, but maybe that's more of my issue than theirs.

It's when we - yes, you and me - feel a need to judge other's levels of spirituality or how they live out their faith that we become spiritual snobs. Let us not judge others for what should be strictly between them and God. Help them appropriately, yes, but judge, no.


Susan said...

Great post. I think we all "judge" or filter our opinions through our bias, which we all have, not just Spiritually but in sport teams, in cars, you name it.

I see us as all part of the Body of Christ and I try to fulfill the body part I have been called to be to the best of my ability and let others be the part God has called them to be. Praise God we are not carbon copies and all the same.

barb said...

As Susan said, great post and definetly important food for thought. I remember that we are to be "living letter" for Christ.

g-ma DD said...

Great article,my dear, you have a way of saying what is important, something that everyone can gain from them. Iam sure that I have been guilty of being a snob many times even tho I didn't intend to be.

lots of love,

Momma Roar said...

Yes, good post. Gives me a lot to think about - I think I can be like this a lot in so many different areas...where I try to compare myself to others to make myself feel better when I only need to go to God!

Jamey said...

Very well said...and unfortunately the reason that we don't go to church very often. It has happened to us too many times and it's disheartening. It makes me sad that my kids don't go to church or Sunday school though and I honestly feel like I am failing miserably in that area. So I am trying. I've been to a new church here quite a few times since our move to SD and I am really thinking about getting the kids into Sunday school there. One problem is we waited too long for our oldest and he is completely against it. Not church...but going to Sunday school. I'm not sure how to go about it now but I know I need to find a way.

I'm not perfect either and I have to constantly remind myself not to judge, that it's not my place. Not just in religious choices but in life in general.

Melissa said...

What a great post! It's so easy to look at others and say "If they could only do this... or see this...then they would be MUCH better people". But here's a lesson I learned a long time ago... you will never know ALL of someone's story. They live the way they live because of a lifetime of experiences and you can never know all of those experiences or how they have shaped a person. Especially when it comes to their relationship with God.

brspeer said...

Jamey- My advice to you is find the right church. I'm not sure how old your oldest is, but some churches have awesome Jr. High and High School youth groups. Contemporary worship with a live band and fun games thrown in are things that will pull most kids to church even if they don't want to do church. So shop around, and find one that will fit your whole family.

MightyMom said...

woot woot!
well said my friend, well said.

I also had this one who has recently changed denominations and can see from inside and outside each.

many times an outsider's perception of what a person believes really isn't true.

more animosities are started in mis-information, mis-perception than in fact.


Anonymous said...

We’re snobs when we have more self-righteousness than love. Which is a category most of us fit into most of the time.