“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”– I Corinthians 13:4
Boasting seems like a singular sin
It is obnoxious but what does it have to do with loving another?
To boast is to focus on my what?
My skills, my blessings, my possessions, my experiences?
We live in the age of the cell phone and selfie
An odd time to be alive
So different from how I grew up
With typewriters, rotary phones with long cords and card catalogues
The technology of my childhood
We had experiences that went unphotographed then
Alive only in memory
Long days at the pool with a book and a tin of rice krispie treats
Seeing who could hold their breath underwater the longest
Bicycling with a friend to the lake for a picnic
And while the past isn’t all idyllic
I often wish for my own children to experience such freedom of being
Free from screens and the pressures of social media
Boasting now so common we tend to forget
It is sin
If we do it on a screen
It is still sin
Look what I have
Look what I have done
Look what I can do
Love cannot exist in the my, the me, and the I
Love only exists in the you
The early morning squall that woke me from sleep has quieted
Soaked surfaces and choppy waves are all that is left of the storm
It is a quiet morning at the cottage
Time to think, to read, and to ponder
The antithesis of love and boasting
This sin, too, is not something I can claim to be immune from
As the lure of my cell phone and the siren song of social media
Like the mythological sirens calling the unaware to a slow death
I am not immune to these either
I must constantly make the choice to turn off, shut down, and look away
And to ask myself before I make that comment or that post
Why am I really saying this?
Is it to put myself before others?
To make sure they know all that I can do and have done?
Or is it done in love
To encourage someone else?
To let them know they are not alone in their struggle
Like Paul, to boast in our weaknesses
Not our strengths
So that God is given the glory
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”-2 Corinthians 12:9
For boasting is not just antithetical to love
It is antithetical to reality
Like a five-year old boasting of his basketball prowess
To an NBA star
Only not as cute as that
The reality is that all we have
Even all that we can do
Is from God
All of it
So how can we boast?
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”-Ephesians 2:8-10
Let go of boasting.
Let go of me, myself, and I
Reveling in the fact that we are sons and daughters of the King
There is no place for boasting here
Delighting instead in being HIS
He who is perfectly kind, just, and righteous
I am his
And in that there is freedom
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength of the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.”-Jeremiah 9:23-24