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Condescension in the Best Sense
by Terry Barlow
03/29/14
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   A famous athlete (whom I won't name) made an amazing statement not many years ago. Amazing for its consummate arrogance. Approached by a new, mostly unknown player on the team who was trying to build relationships off the court that he thought would also help the team on the court, the star player responded like this, "You can't just walk up to me like this. You have to earn some more accolades first, you haven't achieved enough." I have to marvel at how much of a polar opposite this attitude is to the one Jesus demonstrated, to the mind of Christ. In fact I'm not sure I can think of anything more un-Christ-like that this star could have said, though he doesn't make any public claim to be Christian, it's true. And it's a good thing he doesn't. Rather than hold himself aloof from everyday people, Jesus made himself "abundantly available" as one psalm puts it. He makes himself easily accessible and approachable to us as ONE of us, through his blood sacrifice on our behalf and his Holy Spirit. All that Jesus is and has, all the good He has ever achieved He brings and offers us as our own to appropriate through faith. As God and yet human, Jesus gladly and willingly, and unselfconsciously condescends to our sinful human level without sinning himself and lifts us out of ourselves into another realm to join him where He dwells. Condescension is usually regarded in a negative light or a pejorative sense, as though someone thinks oneself better or superior to another and lets them know it, or makes them feel their inferiority through the stunted nature of the interaction. This celebrity wasn't even willing to condescend in the negative sense, counting the newcomer unworthy of any interaction at all except that of abrupt refusal. Thank God there is higher positive condescension which is all about sharing itself and committing itself covenantally to others. For many of us this is precisely the point where our true lives began and, come to think of it, how they continue.



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