I was amused this morning when I saw something my daughter tweeted:
The purpose of speaking in class is not to show everyone else how much you've read. Assume we've all read a lot; it's grad school.
I tweeted a response and she responded with some text messages. She had very little use for the fellow student who was was trying to impress his hearers with what she identified as conclusions that weren't even all that illuminating at the undergraduate level.
I suggested that perhaps, because it's early in the semester, and there is a new selection of young ladies, that he was trying to impress the women. There's one woman who isn't impressed. One thing she can't stand is when people condescend to others or "name drop."
She will handle this in the same way she typically does. She will sit by and let the guy make a fool of himself and mind her own business. She will disagree if she needs, and she will do it in an orderly way, as she has learned to do. In short, she'll be gracious.
I also suggested that this young man's posturing could be a result of a lack of confidence. Often, people who are obnoxious are actually insecure. I can feel insecure very quickly, and do my own share of condescending. I don't like myself much when I get like that. It's a very natural response to defend ourselves by name dropping, posturing, or telling people about our extensive education.
The thing is, the natural response is usually the wrong one. The response I want to become my first response when feeling uncertain is to remind myself that things such as education levels, having books published, and being smart and articulate are first of all passing things. If I ever get such things, I'll take them to my grave. Second, those things are not a replacement for biblical wisdom or devotion to Christ. I am not redeemed by education, name, or rank. I'm redeemed by His blood according to His mercy.
Views such as those are worldly and vain, and they are nothing like what the apostle Paul talks about in Philippians chapter 2:
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my job by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (v.1-3)
I want to be someone who is less concerned with the accomplishments of others, and more concerned with my own obedience. I also want to be the person who allows someone to be condescending toward me, and to consider it a glory to overlook an offense.