As you continue your attentive listening this week, keep your ears open for another kind of offensive, unproductive speech. It might seem like a minor problem, but I assure you, the Scriptures take this seriously. I’m referring to boasting, to speech or activities that assume a place of superiority over others.
Like clouds and wind without rain
Is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely. (25:14)
Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him. (26:12)
Do not boast about tomorrow,
For you do not know what a day may bring forth.
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
A stranger, and not your own lips. (27:1–2)
Boasting most often occurs when we speak too highly of ourselves or our own accomplishments, but it’s actually possible to boast without speaking a single word. Some luxury automobiles are marketed as status symbols, as are some upscale neighborhoods and certain brands of clothing. God has nothing against people acquiring nice things if the purpose is to enjoy their use. But when someone purchases items to advertise personal success, that person has become guilty of boasting.
Boasting is really a symptom of a deeper problem known as pride, a condition of the heart that craves attention and loves to take center stage. According to Proverbs 6:16-17, the Lord hates pride and considers our self-exaltation a personal affront. In fact, He places “haughty eyes”—that is, a superior attitude—at the head of a list of what He hates, a list that includes lying, murder, rebellion, and slander.
As the proverb warns, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling” (16:18). Beware of boasting, both your own boasting and the boasting of those around you. Even if you’re not headed for a fall yourself, be careful that someone else’s pride doesn’t bring you down with him.
From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
In Embraced by the Spirit, we step away from the heat of theological battle that analyzes and criticizes and move quietly and closely to the One who has been sent alongside to help.