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Godly Condescension

Michael Beck Michael Beck

“Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.” (Romans 12:15,16)

Job said: “He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease.” (Job 12:5) The only frame of reference that most people use to assess things is their own life. If they have had things come easy, they are quick to judge those who are struggling. If they have never known real sickness, disease, poverty or tragedy, they assume those who suffer such have done something to bring it upon themselves, and therefore show little mercy or compassion.

What did Ezekiel call the sin of Sodom? “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” (Ezekiel 16:49) God in this section likens the sins of Jerusalem to those of Sodom. Both of them walked in pride, having so much, and yet failing to recognize where their good came from, and who alone made them any different from another. A failure to show mercy to the poor and needy is inevitably tied to a pride that one has done something that another didn’t do.

A failure to show mercy to the poor and needy is inevitably tied to a pride that one has done something that another didn’t do.

God hates pride. He hates when we attribute to ourselves what He has given us. The rich hardly enter the kingdom because they are wise in their own conceits; they boast in themselves instead of the Lord who exalts one and sets down another. They little realize how quickly the tables can turn.

Nebuchadnezzar was brought down at his highest point, while he was boasting of what his hand had done. Daniel had warned him that a fall was coming and would only be averted if he began to show mercy to the poor. (Daniel 4:27) Showing mercy to the poor means giving help to those in need. It is having a heart of haughtiness and judgment replaced by a heart of compassion and proper gratitude toward God for what we have and how we got it. One says, “Everything I have I’ve gotten through my own hard work.” Who though gave you the strength to work hard? Another says, “I have what I have because I was wise enough to make good decisions.” Who though gave you the wisdom? Through a painful humbling, Nebuchadnezzar was made to realize that all he had was because of God.

Paul advises us to weep with those who weep. To “condescend” or come down and enter into the humbled places others have been brought to. Don’t judge them. Help them. Pray for them. Don’t be wise in your own conceits. Don’t presume to know how or why they are where they are. We are far less smart than we think we are. Realize that “the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11)

Show mercy, you may be needing it, sooner than you think.

No, we are not to make excuses for the judgments of God upon the lives of others. But aren’t you glad that when you were fully deserving of judgment, the Lord showed you mercy? If He who is so high could reach down and lift us up out of the lowest pit, can we not lower ourselves to reach out to another in need? Show mercy, you may be needing it, sooner than you think.


Michael Beck is a pastor in New York City and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.