Boastful competitiveness and “one-up-manship,” can divide relationships faster than anything!
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing,” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.
The first three verses of 1 Corinthians 13 describe the absolute necessity of love and that if we do whatever we do without love, we’re like a noisy gong, a clanging symbol. We’re nothing, what we do profits nothing. We also find that love is patient in VS 4.
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant.”
Let’s think about that.
Love does not brag. I see love as a “kinding”, the action of being kind. So, someone who possesses and demonstrates biblical love does not talk about all the wonderful things that “they” are, the wonderful things that “they” do and the wonderful things that “they” plan.
Nebuchadnezzar was all about that, “Look what I’ve built! Look what I have done. This is for MY glory, through MY ability, because of MY power.”
I think there’s a desire in all of our hearts to want to talk a little bit about us. We just want to talk about us and our culture reinforces that idea. The whole category of self-esteem is like, “Let’s just feel as good about ourselves as we possibly can so when I don’t want to think about me, why don’t you think about me for me?”
You see, “love does not brag,” means that love does not seek to draw excessive attention to itself. It doesn’t seek to talk about itself. I think that penetrates every aspect of our society right now, and if we’re honest, it penetrates us too. Why do people compete in order to one-up their friends or coworkers?
Biblical love doesn’t do that. It doesn’t parade itself around. It doesn’t seek credit or applause either, whether from its own ability or from the words of others.
The text goes on: not only is love patient and kind and not jealous, love does not brag and is not arrogant. It’s not arrogant or prideful.
At a first glance, there seems to be very little difference between bragging and pride, but pride or arrogance is the more general word where bragging was simply one expression. So, bragging is the verbal representation of a heart of pride but pride is an attitude of the heart that considers itself pretty doggone good, if not actually ah-mazing!
I think what the Lord is doing here is helping us to recognize the fact that we don’t have to be a person who just brags and brags and brags and brags to be a person who is full of pride. There is both the bragging expression of pride but there’s also other sorts of pride that can come out, and what Jesus says and wants to be very clear, is that he wants all of it gone: it’s not part of true biblical love.
Prideful people hate accountability. They H A T E accountability! They don’t want to listen to anyone. They don’t want to be under anyone’s counsel They think they’re entirely self-sufficient and so they don’t want accountability. “Forget that. Being accountable for my responses and my actions? Are you kidding me? I don’t need accountability. Why? Because I do it all right anyway and I am so much smarter and wiser than you.” That’s a person who is full of pride.
Prideful people are consumed with what others might think of them.
They are man-pleasers! Praise from others is addicting to them and so, they become very self-righteous about how wonderful they are and how “not so wonderful others are.” Or, when they get criticized, they launch into self-pity because, “It feels like everybody is coming down on me.” It’s like a big load of bricks, “Oh, I can’t handle it.”
You see, those are expressions of pride. And they cannot imagine someone actually asking them to take a step of growth to deal with changing their attitude or approach in anything, and when they do, they get upset. That’s pride. It’s a heart of pride.
Prideful people are defensive. You can’t really teach them something, they’re defensive. They have an answer to and for everything.
What to do?
The first thing is to recognize that any pride and any bragging is inconsistent with biblical love. You see, as long as you remain convinced that it really isn’t that big of a deal, as long as you remain in denial that it’s not really “that bad” in your life, there is no change. You have to recognize it first. Then you have to repent for a heart that is prideful. You actually have to repent. You have to see Pride as wrong and turn away from it and pursue humility instead.
Repent for a heart that is prideful. You can repent because Jesus will never leave you or forsake you and he stands ready to forgive you. It’s one of the most beautiful passages!
1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
He stands ready to forgive so we don’t have to worry about that. He stands ready to forgive! Then we will embrace the heart of humility and a contrite heart instead of a heart of pride, because we recognize that love does not brag and is not arrogant.
“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted,” Matthew 23:12.
~ Mary Lindow ©
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|Mary Lindow has a passion for encouraging others in all generations and careers or vocations to live and express excellence through personal integrity, healthy accountability, and wise management of talents and skills. She is a sought after keynote inspirational and humorous speaker and teacher throughout the United States internationally in Ministers conferences, International Spiritual leaders Conferences, and in National and International training seminars for various organizations.|