The sin of intimidation (it’s not what you think)

I’m on sabbatical (translation: I’m resting),
so this is a
pre-scheduled post for your encouragement, education and enjoyment! 

We’ve all felt a bit intimidated from time to time… it’s part of the ugly way human relationships sometimes work out in a sinful world.  And it’s clear that when a person is intentionally intimidating toward another person – sin is being commited.  We all know what that looks like…

  • The husband who verbally or physically intimidates his wife or children…
  • The boss who throws around his “authority” to keep his employees in line…
  • The mob-boss who wants to “make you an offer you can’t refuse.” (OK, maybe you haven’t experienced that one)

But that’s not the kind of “intimidation” this post is about.

This post is a good-hearted, love-driven response to a very common statement that I hear from Christians.  I usually hear it when people are talking about another person (which in itself could be a sin… but that’s a subject for another post).  They say things like,

  • He/she makes me feel so intimidated,” OR
  • People are intimidated by her…” OR
  • I’m intimidated by him…

What’s really going on here?  Of course, it could be that the person referred to actually is intentionally intimidating others, which would be a sin.  But that’s not usually the case.

If there was such a thing as a “verbiage translator” that could uncover the real meaning behind such phrases, it would likely show that those people are really saying… “That person is so good at BLANK that it makes me feel inadequate, less-than, guilty, incompetent, etc.”  Who’s the sinner in that case?  The one who is making the statement.

They are using the “I” word to put distance between themselves and the person they are talking about – which is unloving to their Christian brother or sister.  They are using the “I” word to cast “blame” on the person who actually has things together in a certain area, rather than dealing with their own guilty or inadequate feelings rightly, before God.  That’s just another form of jealousy…

And it get’s even more tangled when the person they are talking about gets wind of what is being said by “people” (always ambiguous in number and name).  They begin to do their own self-evaluation, trying to determine what it is about them that is so intimidating, because that’s the last thing they want to be!  This futile introspection usually ends up with no new revelations, and a lot of confusion and hurt.

The reality is that the person who is allegedly “intimidating” is actually doing things well.  They have grown in their faith, or they have been graciously taught by the Lord to be a good parent, or wife, or teacher, or counselor, or WHATEVER THE CASE MAY BE! They have been blessed, at least in the area in question, to actually DO what every Christian is commanded to do in 1 Corinthians 10:3…

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Please… PLEASE – don’t throw around the word “intimidating” like this… God’s people are called to more…


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