It Does Not Boast

“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?

Always MY

Never YOUR

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

Always ME

Never YOU

Look what I have

Look what I have done

Look what I can do

Always I

Never You

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

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