BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“The king of Aram had high admiration for Naaman, the commander of his army, because through him the LORD had given Aram great victories. But though Naaman was a mighty warrior, he suffered from leprosy. Now groups of Aramean raiders had invaded the land of Israel, and among their captives was a young girl who had been given to Naaman’s wife as a maid. One day the girl said to her mistress, ‘I wish my master would go to see the prophet in Samaria. He would heal him of his leprosy.’ So Naaman told the king what the young girl from Israel had said. ‘Go and visit the prophet,’ the king told him. ‘I will send a letter of introduction for you to carry to the king of Israel.’ So Naaman started out, taking as gifts 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and ten sets of clothing. The letter to the king of Israel said: ‘With this letter I present my servant Naaman. I want you to heal him of his leprosy’” (2 Kings 5:1-6 NLT).
One lesson we can learn from the scripture above is not to look down on anyone. Naaman, the commander of the army of Syria, was afflicted with leprosy, and we don’t know how long he had lived with the disease. But a young girl, serving Naaman’s family as a maid, told Naaman’s wife that Naaman could be healed if he would go to the prophet in Samaria. Naaman’s wife took the advice serious and told the husband, who also received it and informed the king of Syria. The king sent Naaman to the prophet with a letter of introduction to the king of Israel. In the end, God healed Naaman through the prophet.
It all started with that young Israelite girl who told them about the prophet in Israel. If Naaman and his wife had looked down on her, he probably would have died leprous. If that house help had been badly treated as worthless, if they had cowed her down, intimidated her that she had no right to say a word except to do what they told her to do, she wouldn’t have been free to talk to Naaman’s wife and proffer solution.
In some homes today, domestic staff are not permitted to say anything; their opinions don’t matter. But the truth is that nobody has a monopoly of knowledge. The solution to your problem may just be in the hand of that domestic staff you’re looking down on. Your safety and survival may be in the hand of the domestic staff you’ve regarded as worthless. He wants to give you a piece of information that would save your family, your children, your business, your life, etc. but you won’t allow him to talk. After all, he’s just a domestic staff, what does he know? That’s foolishness.
Naaman was a highly esteemed general, yet his wife was approachable. He was the commander of the Syrian army under Ben-hadad II, yet his wife had no problem to tell him what that young girl said, and he acted on it. What are you that you look down on others? Don’t look down on anyone. David said, “Lord, my heart is not proud; I don’t look down on others” (Ps 131:1 NCV). Can you say the same thing of yourself? Don’t you look down on others you think you’re better than? Rom 12:16 advises: “Do not be proud, but make friends with those who seem unimportant. Do not think how smart you are” (NCV).
Two masters, two servants, different attitudes
If you read Luke 7 and 1Sam 30, you’ll see there the story of two servants, two masters, different contexts, same problem but different attitudes by the two masters.
In Luke 7, the servant of the centurion who was sick to the point of death is described as being held in honour and highly valued by his master, the centurion. “Now a centurion had a bond servant who was held in honor and highly valued by him who was sick and at the point of death” (Luke 7:2 Amplified Bible). The Message says, “He prized him highly and didn’t want to lose him.” The New Century Version says the servant was very important to him.
The boss of this servant, an army officer, did not look down on him. He demonstrated how much he highly valued and honoured him by sending the elders of his city to Jesus to plead to come to heal him. Jesus responded to their plea and headed for the centurion’s house. But before Jesus could get to his house, the centurion sent friends to Jesus that He did not need to come under his roof before his servant would be healed; all Jesus needed to do was to speak one word and his servant would be healed. Jesus was marveled and said He had not seen such a faith as this in Israel. And the servant was healed. But I noticed that it was not even recorded that Jesus said anything to the effect that the servant should be healed. What a faith!
The central point in this message is that this centurion didn’t look down on his servant to say he could die if he wanted to die after all he was a mere servant. Rather, he held this servant in honour and valued him. He sought a solution for his sickness, and he was saved from death. I believe such attitude by the centurion towards his servant must have impacted positively on this servant before he fell sick and after his healing. This must also have attracted a selfless and diligent service from this servant to reciprocate his master’s positive attitude towards him.
If you contrast this account with that of 1Sam 30, you’ll see a marked difference. The servant here, an Egyptian, was sick while on a military campaign with his master but was abandoned by his master, apparently to die. At the time David’s men found him, he had not eaten for three days; they gave him food and he was revived.
One cannot conclude that the servant in 1 Sam 30 was treated like that because he was a bad servant. The servant suggested that he didn’t love his master because when David asked if he could lead him to the company that invaded his camp, he begged David and his men to promise that they would not kill him or hand him over to his Amalekite master. He never wanted to go back to that master.
This servant gave them the information that made it possible for David and his men to pursue the invaders and recover all that they had taken away from the camp of David.As it turned out, abandoning this sick servant was the undoing of that company. If his master had been kind to him and had not abandoned him, David and his men would not have found him and they would not have gotten from him information on their whereabouts. Don’t look down on anyone. Rom 12:16 says, “Live in harmony with each other. Don’t try to act important, but enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!” (NLT)
Jesus’ disciples looking down on children
The disciples of Jesus scolded parents for bringing their children to Jesus to touch and bless them, but Jesus was angry with his disciples. The disciples apparently looked down on the children, feeling that parents shouldn’t bother Jesus about ordinary children! They probably wouldn’t have frowned at Jesus touching and blessing adults. “One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, ‘Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. ‘I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it’ Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them” (Mark 10:13-16 NLT).
It was wrong for the disciples to have looked down on these children, hence Jesus scolded His disciples. Speaking on another occasion, Jesus warned: “Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father” (Matt18:10 NLT).
Don’t look down on anyone, whether young or old. Don’t look down on anyone because of his gender, race or colour. Song of Solomon 1:6 says, “Don’t look down on me, you fair city girls, just because my complexion is so dark. The sun has burned my skin. My brothers were angry with me and sent me out to tend the vineyards in the hot sun. Now see what it has done to me!” (NLT) Don’t despise anyone living with disability or able bodied. Naaman was a leper but through him, God gave victories unto Syria (2 Kings 5:1).
Paul told his son in the ministry, Timothy, “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young” (1 Tim 4:12 NLT). Paul said that because he knew some people would want to do that. Though it’s not your fault that you’re a youth, you must refrain from youthful misbehaviour that could make others look down on you.
Looking down on Jesus
“And Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see’” (John 1:46 NKJV). Nathaniel looked down on Jesus by despising Nazareth where Jesus had spent his years as a young boy (Matt 2: 23). Nazareth was just a secluded and isolated village not even mentioned anywhere in the Old Testament. Nazareth didn’t occupy any important place in the national and religious life of Israel. It neither had any enviable reputation in morals and religion. Rather, it was known for some crudeness in the Galilean language. But Nathaniel changed his mind about Jesus before their conversation ended during this encounter; he became a disciple (John 1:47-51).
However, despite the general sentiment against Nazareth which Nathaniel voiced, Jesus publicized the name of Nazareth all over the world. Hardly can you remember any other prominent person associated with Nazareth apart from Jesus but Jesus was enough to make that village as popular as any other city such as Jerusalem.
Don’t look down on anyone because of his place of birth, home-town, family background, profession, etc. They are not inferior to you in destiny, though they could be in other aspects. That person you’re looking down on today may become a world changer, an international or national figure; he may become your benefactor. 1 Sam 2:8 says, “He lifts the poor from the dust — yes, from a pile of ashes! He treats them like princes, placing them in seats of honor” (NLT). Only God can do that. Psalm113:6-9 says a similar thing: “He stoops to look, and he lifts the poor from the dirt and the needy from the garbage dump. He sets them among princes, even the princes of his own people! He gives the barren woman a home, so that she becomes a happy mother. Praise the LORD!” (NLT)
Michal looking down on David
Look at this incident between David and his wife, Michal: “But as the Ark of the Lord entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she was filled with contempt for him” (2 Sam 6:16 NLT). The King James Version renders the latter part of that scripture thus: “and she despised him in her heart” Did you see that? Michal looked down from her window and looked down on David! She was filled with contempt for David, for dancing before the Lord. She despised David. “When David returned home to bless his family, Michal came out to meet him and said in disgust, ‘How glorious the king of Israel looked today! He exposed himself to the servant girls like any indecent person might do!’” (2 Sam 6:20 NLT)
That was the king of Israel that Michal was talking to like that. A virtuous woman, a submissive woman, wouldn’t talk to her husband like that. No respect for David. It doesn’t appear that there was peace between both of them before this incident. Dear friend, don’t look down on your spouse, no matter how better than him or her you think you are.
What was David’s reaction to Michal’s contempt for him? “David retorted to Michal, ‘I was dancing before the LORD, who chose me above your father and his family! He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the LORD. So I am willing to act like a fool in order to show my joy in the LORD. Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, but I will be held in honor by the girls of whom you have spoken!’” (2 Sam 6:21-23, NLT). And the Bible ends that incident by saying, “So Michal, the daughter of Saul, remained childless throughout her life” (2 Sam 6:23 NLT). That was unfortunate. May you not despise someone that holds the key to your blessing and fruitfulness in life.
But it wasn’t Michal alone that looked down on David. Earlier, Eliab, David’s eldest brother, had looked down on him when he went to the battle where he killed Goliath. Eliab called all the sheep David was taking care of, jeopardizing his life against the lion and the bear, “those few sheep.” He seemed to be saying, “You failure, shepherd of only few sheep. What have you come to do here? You’re tired of your business because nothing is moving therefore you’ve come to see what we are doing here” The Bible says, “But when David’s oldest brother, Eliab, heard David talking to the men, he was angry. ‘What are you doing around here anyway?’ he demanded. ‘What about those few sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and dishonesty. You just want to see the battle!’” (1 Sam 17:28 NLT)
What was David’s reaction? “‘What have I done now?’ David replied. ‘I was only asking a question!’” (Verse 29 NLT). He then moved away from his eldest brother. He went to other people to ask them the same thing and received the same answer about what the king would do for anyone who killed Goliath. David didn’t argue further with his brother. He simply continued in the direction God was already stirring his spirit – to confront Goliath and kill him. Eliab’s words were caustic and were capable of discouraging any unfocused person. But David knew within him that he had a date with destiny. Learn a lesson from David how to deal with people who look down on you.
Saul also tried to discourage him when he described him as a youth who stood no chance against Goliath, who had been a man of war from his youth. But David was not discouraged (verse 33). Goliath did the same. He disdained David because he was a youth and cursed him in the name of his gods (verses 42-43). But David was a fully persuaded man, who could not be dissuaded by the despise of Goliath or intimidated by his boast. David, the underdog, eventually killed Goliath through the help of God.
God looks down on nobody
There is no reason for you to look down on anyone, no matter how highly placed you think you are, and no matter how lowly placed you think the other person is. Even God, the Bible tells us, as big as He is, doesn’t despise anyone. “God is mighty, but he does not despise anyone! He is mighty in both power and understanding” (Job 36:5 NLT). The only reason God would despise anyone is when he or she has no regard for Him. If someone despises God, He would despise the person. He told Eli: “I will honor those who honor me, and I will despise those who think lightly of me” (2 Sam 2:30 NLT). So if the Almighty God doesn’t look down on anyone, who are you to look down on the works of His hand?
Even some Christians can look down on other Christians because they don’t belong to their well-known denominations. That’s wrong. Your denomination is not the way to heaven – Jesus is. Jesus is the Saviour; it is not your pastor, reverend or bishop! Your denomination doesn’t make you superior to other Christians. Hear how Jesus dealt with a matter similar to this: “John said to Jesus, ‘Master, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons. We tried to stop him because he isn’t in our group.’ But Jesus said, ‘Don’t stop him! Anyone who is not against you is for you’” (Luke 9:49-50 NLT). Did you see that?
Rom 14:10 says, “So why do you condemn another Christian? Why do you look down on another Christian? Remember, each of us will stand personally before the judgment seat of God” (NLT). Don’t look down on anyone whether a Christian or not. You didn’t create anyone; God did. Who’re you to look down on God’s work?
Familiarity breeds contempt
It is possible you know the past of some people, especially when they were young or growing up physically and spiritually. Don’t look down on people because of the information you have about them. Familiarity breeds contempt but the people you know yesterday have grown; they’ve changed.
Whereas Jesus was being celebrated in other places, the people of Nazareth were busy telling stories about his upbringing which they were familiar with and his family. They said, among other things, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him” (Mark 6:3 KJV).
They related with Jesus based on what they knew of Him; they did not believe Him, therefore, He could do no mighty work except laying hands on a few sick and healing them. They didn’t see Him as the Son of God, the anointed of God. They saw Him as a carpenter; they looked down on Him so He couldn’t bless them much.
Prov 11:12 says, “It is foolish to belittle a neighbor; a person with good sense remains silent” (NLT). Prov 14:21 says a similar thing. “It is sin to despise one’s neighbors; blessed are those who help the poor” (NLT). Don’t belittle anyone. Those who belittle people will become little people. C.S Lewis says, “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and of course as long as you’re looking down, you can’t see something above you.” As I’ve said, even as high as God is, He does not look down on anyone.
It is true that the sin of Achan was responsible for the defeat of the Israelites by the people of Ai, but the Israelites had looked down on the city of Ai as a small city they could just overrun having just defeated a more formidable city, Jericho. “When they returned, they told Joshua, ‘It’s a small town, and it won’t take more than two or three thousand of us to destroy it. There’s no need for all of us to go there’” (Joshua 7:3 NLT). They didn’t even bother to ask from God how they should attack or the number of soldiers to go with. May be if they had done that, they would, in the process, have been told that all was not well with Israel and there was sin in their camp. But the two spies they sent looked down on Ai, and, based on their recommendation, they went with three thousand soldiers and they were roundly defeated.
The point to note is that when eventually they defeated Ai after they had dealt with the sin of Achan, Israel went with thirty thousand soldiers. “So Joshua and the army of Israel set out to attack Ai. Joshua chose thirty thousand fighting men and sent them out at night” (Joshua 8:3 NLT). Compare thirty thousand soldiers to three thousand initially deployed to prosecute the war.
It does seem to me that in addition to the sin of Achan, the Israelites underrated the city of Ai because it was a small city. I said this because if the number of fighting men was adequate, they would just have gone with the same number of three thousand or slightly increase the number after dealing with the sin of Achan and God was no longer angry with Israel.
Hear what God told Joshua: “Do not be afraid or discouraged. Take the entire army and attack Ai, for I have given to you the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land” (Josh 8:1 NLT). Did you see that? God said Joshua should go with the entire army, all the fighting men to attack Ai. Could it be that God was saying they were wrong to have thought that Ai was a small city and they could defeat them with just three thousand fighters? Don’t look down on any group of people because of their size, population, height, etc.
Cultivate healthy relationships
Developing a good human relation is vital to success in life – ability to relate well with others. Cultivate a healthy relationship with people. Love people; respect people without compromising the Word of God. God may decide to use anyone to bless you but if you are the snobbish type, you’ll be the enemy of yourself. Because you don’t know who God will use for you, make it a principle of your life that you’ll treat everybody well.
Don’t look down on anybody – you don’t know tomorrow. Only God knows the future of everybody. The stone that the builders reject today may become the chief cornerstone tomorrow (Ps 118:22; Matt 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:7). The Joseph you lie against today or you unjustly imprison today may become the prime minister tomorrow. How would you face him?
If you sow honor, you shall reap honor. If you sow dishonor, you shall reap dishonor. 1 Peter 2:1 says, “Honor all men” (KJV). Respect everyone not because of their status or possession but because they’re God’s creation. Rom. 12:10 says, “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other” (NLT). If you honor others, divine honor will come upon you. The converse is also true. Don’t look down on anyone. As I’ve said, only God has the right to look down on anyone because He is above all but He doesn’t.
Most rich people are proud because they don’t consider God the source of their wealth; they think it is their smartness, hard work, intelligence and connections alone that gave them their wealth. There are wealthy and rich people who’re not only proud to fellow human beings but even to God! No human being has a right to look down on a fellow human being just because he has more means than him. Don’t look down on the poor. “My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim that you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people more than others? For instance, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in shabby clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, ‘You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor’ — well, doesn’t this discrimination show that you are guided by wrong motives?” (James 2:1-4 NLT)
Knowledgeable people are also prone to look down on those not as knowledgeable as they are. 1 Cor 8:1 says, “Knowledge puffs up” (NKJV). Don’t look down on others you consider ignorant.Don’t injure them with your cutting criticisms or judgmental attitude. Let your knowledge heal; let your knowledge build up, not pull down. Don’t look down on anybody.
1.Recognize people as God’s creature. Everyone is fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). But people are at different stages in their journey in life to becoming what God has destined them to be. Don’t conclude on them yet.
2. Acknowledge that God has deposited something in everyone. We have different gifts and are blessed differently.
3. Admit that that you don’t know it all and you don’t have it all. There are things others have, which you don’t have, and verse versa. There are also things you know, which they don’t know, and verse versa.
4. Use what God has deposited inside you or what you have with humility. “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all” (1 Cor 12:7 NKJV).
5. Be humble to receive what others also have. Superiority complex hinders people from allowing others to bless them with their gifts or abilities. “Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, ‘I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,’ that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, ‘I am not part of the body because I am only an ear and not an eye,’ would that make it any less a part of the body? Suppose the whole body were an eye — then how would you hear? Or if your whole body were just one big ear, how could you smell anything? But God made our bodies with many parts, and he has put each part just where he wants it” (1 Cor. 12:14-18 NLT).
If you’ve not yet given your life to Jesus and you’ll like to do so, you need to take the following steps: *Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church. There, you will be taught how to grow in the Lord and how to discover and fulfill God’s purpose for your life.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I’m a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I’m saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I congratulate you if you’ve said that prayer sincerely. You are now a child of God. May the Lord make you a Cedar Christian. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947