Looking down on another person is weak, selfish, dramatic, and dumb. The person looking down can often look strong, important, popular, and smart. Look again. The act of looking down on another person - their personhood (dignity, soul, mystery) is objectively wrong at all times. Looking down is weak because it is easy. Looking down is selfish because it builds one up at the expense of another. Looking down is dramatic because it is often unnecessary public posturing. Looking down is dumb because the list of reasons to be looked down upon is often arbitrary and superficial; skin color, grades, weight, clothes, neighborhood, team affiliation, articulation, quirks, physical limitations, style of worship...really?
It takes a lot of strength to be kind to, and respect, others; especially those who are different from us, those who we disagree with, and/or those whose behaviors are awful. Thinking beyond oneself to see the other person is hard, especially when their behaviors are hurtful or wrong. Taking garbage from others while holding firmly to personal dignity is courageous. Sifting through the differences between the person and their behaviors, objectively knowing right from wrong, and prioritizing behaviors worth addressing is really, really, smart. To pray for those who act as our enemies is heroic.
Dr. Suess tells us, "A person's a person no matter how small." The bible tells us, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." We are each perfectly small and of infinite worth to God. Whether we're being tempted to look down on someone or someone is looking down on us, God is above it all. He is the one who will love and guide us, strengthen our character, and comfort us in our suffering. We simply need to look up.