I was in a discussion with someone recently – ok, it was a debate, I admit it – and in that discussion we had quite a few disagreements. Now, I obviously appreciate a good debate more than some do, but I’m quickly stopped when the other side gets condescending and arrogant. Whether I could have been convinced to his side, we’ll never know, because as soon as he began getting arrogant and condescending, I stopped listening to what he was saying. Perhaps it’s a weakness of mine, a failing that I need to work on, but I had a hard time getting beyond that attitude.
Lately I’ve been in a couple different discussions – in the first, the lady I was talking to was clearly angry and bitter. In the second, the person might have been angry and bitter too, but all that was coming through was condescension and arrogance. I was able to handle the angry/bitter discussion far better than the second one. The second one cut off all communication. It attempted to relegate me to a position of idiocy simply because he declared me to be in that position. This was not an effective way to communicate, even if his points were valid. We couldn’t get to the point of convincing because of the attitudes in the way.
It made me think…
As Christians how do we come across to those we talk to?
Do we say to people, “Well, I know you won’t like to hear this, but…” or do we give off an air of superiority? Do we look down on the person we’re talking to? Because if we do, you can bet it’ll come out in our tone of voice. Do we feel disdain for their way of life? Do we tell ourselves it’s not them, it’s their sin we dislike, but the dislike for their sin is so great that it comes out in our voice? The person we’re talking to doesn’t see a difference.
This was illustrated for me once a very long time ago. Someone I knew was talking to a lady who he did not know was a smoker. He made an offhand remark about it being a nasty habit, and the look on his face was not pleasant. While this lady agreed with him, and knew that he wouldn’t reject her if he had known she smoked herself, it still hurt her feelings. She didn’t see it as him talking about disliking the ‘act’ but being able to love her as a person. No, she was seeing him react to something she did, (though he was ignorant of it) and she took it as being very personal. Thankfully she was able to get through that struggle and come out the other side, but how often do we do this every day without even thinking?
Our disdain shows through.
About the Author:
Sherry grew up in various cities around northern and central California. This gave her all sorts of stories that sat and festered in her brain, waiting to be let loose. She eventually went to college in Wisconsin, where she met her equally frenetic husband, Rich. They have six (yes, count them) children, two dogs and a cat, and currently reside in a madhouse in the southern California area. As a family, they enjoy being active in their local church. Sherry spends her time writing when not caring for Granny, the kids, the dogs, the cat and any number of strays in the neighborhood.
Sherry Chamblee can be found at http://www.sherrychamblee.weebly.com Or check out her books at http://www.amazon.com/Sherry-Chamblee/e/B00BA06RJ2/