Love Does Not Boast

Love Does Not Boast

Today I am continuing my love series from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, does not boast, is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Love Does Not Boast

First of all, what even is boasting? Well, according to Webster’s dictionary a boast is defined as to “talk with excessive pride and self-satisfaction about one’s achievements, possessions, or abilities.”

What does that look like in our lives?

I’m sure we all know someone who only talks about himself or herself when you meet up with them. You may love that friend or family member, but their incessant self-centered speech is irritating and makes you not want to be around him or her. This is the person I think of when I think of someone who “boasts”. The truth is, though, that most of the time, when people talk only about themselves in this manner, it usually isn’t boasting. It’s an insecurity that no one cares about or is listening to him or her. It may be boasting sometimes, but when you really look at it, people who do this are usually not bragging about their lives – they are more often complaining about how bad things are. This may be self-centered talk, but it isn’t actually boastful speech.

boast pride christian god love

What, then, does a boastful person look like?

Well, according to the definition I gave earlier, it is someone who talks excessively with pride and self-satisfaction about his or her achievements, possessions, or abilities. Let me illustrate (I learn better through parables, which is probably why Jesus used them so often):

Two friends who haven’t seen each other in months meet up for a coffee.

“Hey, girl! How have you been?” Jennifer asks.

Christina beams happily. “Oh, I’ve been great! I just got a new job that I absolutely love! My boss is awesome. I get paid way more than I did in my last job. I have some great coworkers. Everyone seems to like me so far. How about you?”

Jennifer looks a little defeated. “Oh, uh…I’m good. Nothing has really changed for me, I guess. Still struggling to make ends meet, you know. But hey, I’m glad things are going so well for you!”

Christina takes a sip of coffee, her smile unaffected by Jennifer’s hardships. “Yeah, isn’t God good? I just feel like God is really blessing me now that things are running so smoothly in my life! Did I tell you that I met a guy two weeks ago? We’ve been on a handful of dates but I really like him. I think he may even be the one! What about you? You meet Mister Right yet?”

Jennifer looks down. “No…no, not yet. I’ve been on a few dates but they never seem to be what I’m looking for.”

Christina waves a hand dismissively. “Oh, you’ll find the right one soon. But yeah, my guy’s name is Robert. He is so handsome, funny, sweet, he even makes good money. I’m so blessed!”

Jennifer forces a smile, wanting to be happy for her friend, but Christina’s life just seems so much better than her own and all she really feels is depressed, envious, and bitter.

Now, which one of these friends was boasting? If you guessed Christina, you’d be right. And maybe Jennifer’s response isn’t completely godly, but it is completely human.

Was it wrong for Christina to tell her friend about the great things in her life? No, because she’s excited about them. But what else was she doing? First, she wasn’t mentioning any of the negative things in her life, making it seem like her life was absolutely perfect. That’s a lie because no one’s life is perfect. You don’t need to dwell on the bad things, but pretending like they don’t exist isn’t healthy for you or your loved ones. Second, she didn’t really acknowledge the struggles that Jennifer was experiencing. She dismissed them and continued to talk about how good her own life is. This is a great way to lose a friend. You don’t need to sink into their depression or unhappiness, but you do need to empathize or sympathize with them.

friends coffee boast boasting christian god friendships friendship

You may be wondering, how could have Christina responded then, to not be boastful? Well, let me illustrate one more time:

Two friends who haven’t seen each other in months meet up for a coffee.

“Hey, girl! How have you been?” Jennifer asks.

Christina beams happily. “Oh, I’ve been great! I just got a new job that I absolutely love! My boss is awesome and I do get paid way more than I did in my last job. But, it is a struggle to learn all the new things I’m supposed to do here. I get really nervous before work. I mean, I know things will improve over time as I get used to it, but still. It’s something I have to pray about every day. And I do have some great coworkers, but a few of them are kind of distant or hard to get along with. Everyone seems to like me so far, but I still need to work on these relationships. How about you?”

Jennifer smiles, maybe not as brightly as her friend, but it’s genuine. “I’m good. Nothing has really changed for me, I guess. Still struggling to make ends meet, you know. But I definitely know what you mean – I remember when I first got my job. It really was a struggle to learn everything, develop relationships, and feel really comfortable there.”

Christina takes a sip of coffee, her smile a little softer. “I’m sorry you’re still struggling. I was there before God opened the door for this new job. But Jen, I know He’ll do the same for you. I was in my old job, just barely making ends meet, for two years until God got me this new one. I know it’s hard but keep being patient and being your best and He’ll take care of you.”

Jennifer nodded in agreement. It made her feel better that Christina had gone through a similar thing and gotten through it.

Christina hesitated and then asked, “Did I tell you that I met a guy two weeks ago? We’ve been on a handful of dates but I really like him. I think he may even be the one! What about you? You meet Mister Right yet?”

Jennifer shakes her head. “No, not yet. I’ve been on a few dates but they never seem to be what I’m looking for.”

Christina smiles understandingly. “I know you’ll find the right one soon. You know I’ve been single for three years. I was pretty lonely and had almost given up until God had me meet Robert at a co-worker’s dinner party the other night. He is handsome, funny, sweet, he even makes good money. I know God’s got a hand in this, but I had to go through some really lonely times first. Right now is just a season for you where God wants you to rely on Him, not on a man. I went through the same season. It won’t last forever, I can promise you that.”

Jennifer genuinely smiles at her friend. She had forgotten about Christina’s lonely years. Maybe her friend really did know what she was going through. And if Christina’s life had turned around so quickly, maybe her own life wasn’t so bad. God would turn things around for her too!

Do you see the difference? In the second example, Christina reminds Jennifer of the hard times she has been through but how God brought her out of them with greater blessings and a stronger faith. Instead of Jennifer feeling depressed, envious, and bitter, she feels hopeful because she sees that Christina’s life wasn’t so different from her own. This is how we can talk about God’s goodness without boasting.

I have been guilty of boasting. I don’t do it on purpose. Many times I’m just excited about something in my own life and I don’t think about how the other person must feel, especially if his or her life isn’t at the same place as mine. And I apologize to anyone that I’ve boasted to in the past. I don’t do it all the time. Right now I’m actually struggling more with not being negative about my life and being more positive (I’m at the opposite end of boasting really). But when we receive our financial blessing, I know I’ll be tempted to boast. I can talk about God’s goodness, but I have to remember to think about the other person’s feelings and keep the focus on God, not on me.

Being boastful can damage friendships, marriages, and family relationships. No one likes a boastful person. We resent them and close them off from us. So, we need to learn how to speak the goodness of God in our lives in humility, always keeping the focus on God and encouraging the other person that we’ve been through a lot, but God brought us through it all – God will do the same for them.

You can check out the rest of my love series here:

Love is patient

Love is kind

Love does not envy

Love is not proud

Love is not rude

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2 thoughts on “Love Does Not Boast

  1. God has definitely gifted you as a writer! You are full of His wisdom. And, I see Him writing through you for every day people and every day life!

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