Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Armed with Love: Boasting

"Love does not boast" I Corinthians 13:4

"I told you so," was on the tip of my tongue. I knew the best way to handle this problem, and of course, I was right. "If you had just done it my way we wouldn't be in this mess," I wanted to declare. As I looked at the down cast look on my husbands face, I knew I couldn't say that. He needed my support, not my judgement.

We learn in I Corinthians 13:4 that love does not boast. The King James Version uses the words, "vault ones self." When I was a girl I loved to watch gymnastics on T.V. At the Summer Olympics in 1984, Mary Lou Retton scored perfect 10 on the vault. It earned her the gold medal. I could imagine the feeling of running at full speed toward the horse, springing into the air, twisting, turning, and sticking the perfect landing. I was inspired to take gymnastics class after watching her amazing performance that summer. My experience was not so graceful. I was too chicken and weak to succeed at it.

We often use our words as a spring board to lift ourselves up higher than is naturally possible. We say things to give ourselves a boost, to make ourselves look better than we really are. Thayer's Lexicon describes this form of boasting as, "a self display, employing rhetorical embellishments in extolling one's self excessively." Boasting is putting myself on a pedestal for all to see. While I stand up there I will give myself complements that need no response other then your gracious applause. We have very sneaky ways of doing this. We might say, "If I wasn't here you would all starve," or "If I want it done right I guess I'll have to do it myself." My personal favorite is, "I wish you would have listened to me. This never would have happened." The fact is none of these statements are true, but I say them to make myself look better and my loved ones feel worse.
Romans 12:3 says, "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you." This verse says we should judge ourselves honestly, not putting ourselves higher than those around us. My opinions and methods are not better than my husband's, they are just different. I am guilty of making mistakes also. Only God knows the outcome of our situations.

Philippians 2:3-4 takes this to the next level, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." I should humbly consider the things I say. My feelings are not the only feelings that matter. If I follow Philippians 2:3, I will consider other people better than myself and put their interests before mine. This is being a servant leader in my home. I would like to see my kids model this in their own lives, so I must display it in mine.

There is a time when scripture says it is okay to boast. Jeremiah 9:23-23 says, "This is what the Lord says: 'Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,' declares the Lord." When my husband is going through a difficult time I want to boast, "Thank God! We have Him on our side. He can take care of us." I want to say, "We serve a God who is always kind," when my kids make mistakes. I want to keep my finger pointed heavenward to the God who sees us(Gen. 16:13) because His love never fails.

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