Condescending or Patronizing?

“Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, [and] preaching the gospel of the kingdom …”  Matthew 9:35

A good father does not belittle his toddler for not walking like an adult.  When he pulls himself up to the nearest coffee table, is unsteady on his feet, and then begins to take a step or two before tumbling to the floor, he is not shamed.  He is still a baby and nothing more is expected of him.

If I live before others, I am a spiritual teacher, even a parent to those who are new to faith.  Do I cause those who listen to me to feel disrespected?  Am I condescending in my attitude?  Do I make them feel that I have arrived at some higher platform of truth?  Are they given the impression that they are behind me?  If I need to feel superior and then use others to fuel my narcissistic trip, I need to confront my own sinful heart before God.  I will do more harm than good at my podium of life.

As a child, I grew up under the preaching of one who yelled at his congregation.  Everyone was shamed, weekly, even his wife and children.  We were so used to being his whipping post that we did not know that the Gospel failed to take root in our hearts.  It wasn’t until I married, left home, and experienced the hearts of a few true shepherds, that I realized my heart had been closed off for years.  I had instinctively protected myself from the pastor’s angry words, but in so doing, any remnants of truth in his message couldn’t penetrate my spirit.  Traces of spiritual abuse still linger to this day and my soul is sensitive to these kinds of environments.  It doesn’t take much for old feelings to surface.

As one who has been called to teach, I pray that you sense my affection.  I trust that as you read these daily devotionals, your heart is safe to take in the powerful message of Christ.  Pray for me, that I would assert my spiritual authority with respect, with confidence, and with a power that is only of Christ.

Whatever I know of Your truth today, Lord, I know only because of Your grace.  Help me entrust these seeds to others with humility. Amen

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