Three letters, I-N-G, separate two of the most contradictory words in the dictionary—“condescend” and “condescending”. Those letters make all the difference between whether you make somebody’s day or ruin it.

To condescend is to humble ourselves enough to try to see things from another person’s point of view. Sometimes it even means putting our plans aside to give someone else’s idea a try. On the other hand, being condescending is putting other people down because we think we’re better than them. This attitude feeds pride and every type of prejudice.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we will realize we’re not really as good or important as we think we are. Rather than being condescending toward people because we think they are inferior to us, we should condescend ourselves because God says we’re all equal. He doesn’t make any distinction between age, gender, race, intelligence, or position—and neither should we.

Our attitude toward others affects every part of our lives. It affects our marriages, families, workplaces, and churches. Are you treating people as equals? Do you speak to everyone, or do you show partiality to people who fit in a certain class? How do you treat someone of a different race? In the battle between what you think and what God says, who will win? Friend, I hope you’ll take the -ing out of “condescending” and humble yourself before God and others today.

God sends no one away empty except those who are full of themselves. — D. L. Moody

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder