Friday, March 25, 2011

Condescending to Not Be Condescending

"Condescend" is a verb, but it also has a very different meaning as an adjective.

As a verb, "to condescend" means "to put aside one's dignity or superiority voluntarily and assume equality with one regarded as inferior". In that sense, Jesus condescended to assume equality with us - to become "as one of us", subject to all of our problems and suffering (include death).

As an adjective, "to be condescending" means "to deal with people in a patronizingly superior manner". It means making sure others know of one's higher status - that one is choosing to lower himself to deal with those who still are below him.

In other words, being condescending is the opposite of what is meant by Christ "condescending" to become as one of us. Christ lived as a servant - as the lowest and least important. He didn't claim his rightful privilege as our Lord during mortality, and he didn't "lord it over" those with whom he associated. He condescended to not be condescending, so to speak.

In my own words, he agreed to two manifestations of "at-one-ment" - first, by closing the gap that existed between us prior to his birth, and, second, by closing the gap that otherwise would have existed between us after our deaths.

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