Games up... I'm a snob.
Ok.. so I am supposed to not share anything too intimate or personal online am I? I would like to say that the title in no way applies to me, or if it does, that God has fully cleansed me and, not only do I not sound like an extra from "Downton Abbey" but I have got rid of my mothballed Barbour Jacket and chucked away my posh scarves.
The truth however, is rather different. I have been really uncomfortably challenged by God recently on my snobbish and rather outdated attitude. I was initially surprised at this; and then I did the whole "ooohhhh yeah" thing as God gently and firmly corrected me that, yes I did have a snobby attitude and that needed to change. .......
What Jesus says about snobbery is not a surprise
So let me back track a bit. We are all meant to be champions of "the poor, the orphan and widow" and in fact, I think that I am. I do not feel like I disagree with God saying that we need to look out for those who are less fortunate. But where for me the line is blurred is this next bit.
My attitude that comes across is "I want to look out for the poor" and yet, I still find that there is a small, uncomfortable realisation of a distance between myself and those who are not "of my background". Any margin of love I have given to the poor I seem to have displaced on to those who are instead "different". They are not poor, or in need, but in truth, they are not "like me".
For some reason therefore, I give them a bit of a margin in my soul; allowing them close but not too close; a bit of a cool distance towards those who are not "of my background". I was convinced that it was not too serious. Jesus would never call me up on it would he? One day when I was coming back from work, I walked into a second-hand clothes shop which happened to be manned by a local guy. I gave him my old clothes and after weighing them and giving me change he said "you single?" I reacted quite horribly!
I initially processed this as just a lack of confidence on my part... I was reacting because I had never received attention... yada yada yada. I was ignoring the fact that my "Lady Mary" Hat was on. How dare a local man with a local accent talk to me as though he thinks he even has a chance? Does he know that I am descended from... fill in the blank? Jesus caught me on this..red- handed. He did not mince his words. He just simply said "You're a snob aren't you Rosie?". And I had to say.. .yes
How did I react to this and what is right??
I did not feel great.. and neither should I. I sometimes think that when we "self-disciple" as Christians we can end up wrapping the Knife of Jesus in cotton wool – so that what was intended to cut sharply and accurately ends up having no impact at all.
Let me explain. If I were to process what Jesus said to me, or rather the situation that I had faced in the clothes shop that day with a blunt knife, I would say that the scenario means, that I just need to learn to accept compliments, smile when they are given and realise that God loves me and thinks I am amazing... You know.. literally giving me a new born bunny to hold.. How pink and fluffy that sounds? And how wrong!
I do not blame my background but....
No I do not blame my background. But I have come from a certain place, like we have all come from a certain place. I initially thought that I fitted, identified and signed up for values that I now do not see as the be all and end all. Oh they are useful to an extent, but they are not what makes me. Here is where it gets properly personal.
I find that I still listen to peoples accents, but they do not determine whether I like them or not. I have moved on, all be it slowly... Just as I am writing now, Jesus spoke to me about his own "background". The KING OF KINGS and LORD of LORDS was born in a stable, in the back and beyond. He gently said – "I would have had a different accent to you. Would you have rejected me?" Wow...
Move forward... discernment, not snobbery
How do we move forward on this? This is an internationally published article so for some of you reading, the "class warfare" or "accent" thing may be a bit foreign to you. However, I am hoping that you can all relate, to a degree to the margin that we place between ourselves and those who are not ... quite like us.
Now there are times when you put a healthy distance between yourself and other people. It can be for a number of reasons; if they are doing more harm than good then you need to question your relationship with them. Equally, and I say this carefully... to an extent there is a certain breath of relief that happens when you meet a kindred spirit. A friend put it to me really well. Sometimes; you just want someone who you can talk to without having to explain yourself! I totally get that...
But what I don't understand is when people purposefully shut out those who could speak life into their situation; those who could be the very "breath of fresh air" that they might crave. This might just be a personal lesson for me, which is fine.
But I hope that we can all learn to narrow our margins a little bit, and let people in. This one time snob is trying harder to do just that.
Rosie Robinson resides in Manchester where, in between feeding herself coffee and bagels she works for an international financial services organisation. She attends a lively church called Audacious, enjoys reading, running and watching films and am slowly discovering life with Jesus.
Rosie Robinson's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/rosie-robinson.html