Nothing But a Boaster

The man who does the most good is the least accustomed to boast; the man who boasts may be regarded as doing nothing else. – Albert Barnes

It is pride that is the root enemy of love. Paul tells us that love does not boast and it is not arrogant. Arrogance is pride. It means to be puffed up, conceited, and haughty. Boasting is equivalent to bragging. Boasting or bragging is one of the visible fruits of a proud heart. When we think too highly of ourselves or have a puffed up view of ourselves, we tend to either speak poorly of others or speak really well of ourselves. This speaking well of ourselves is bragging or boasting and it flows from a heart of arrogance.

C.S. LEWIS. According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere flea bites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind . . . it is Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began.[2]

EDWARDS. The first and the worst cause of errors that prevail in such a state of things is spiritual pride. This is the main door by which the devil comes into the hearts of those who are zealous for the advancement of religion. It is the chief inlet of smoke from the bottomless pit, to darken the mind and mislead the judgment. This is the main handle by which the devil has hold of religious persons, and the chief source of all the mischief that he introduces, to clog and hinder a work of God. — This cause of error is the main spring, or at least the main support, of all the rest. Till this disease is cured, medicines are in vain applied to heal other diseases.[3]

Scripture bears out Lewis’ and Edward’s dramatic statements. “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him [and first in the list is] haughty eyes” (Prov 6:16–17 ESV). Pride is an abomination to God.  He hates it, and God’s hatred is not nearly as trivial as ours. “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord” (Prov 16:5 ESV). “The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate” (Prov 8:13 ESV).

It was pride that resulted in the Pharisee standing in the temple while looking down at the tax collector and prayed, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector” (Luke 18:9-14). But before we walk away from this proud Pharisee, consider whether or not you thought, “Lord, I thank you that I am not like that proud Pharisee.” Pride is not bias or prejudice. It equally impacts and destroys the rich and poor alike. It embeds itself in the hearts of the powerful and the marginalized. The atheists and religious alike succumb to its’ temptation.

Love is the correction to boasting and arrogance. A proud person thinks too little of God and others and is consumed by thinking too highly of themselves. And it is here that we find that it is the opposite of love. We love when we place God and others above ourselves. While boasting and arrogant, we place ourselves above everyone else. Pride is not love.

 

[1] Friberg, Friberg, and Miller, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, 390.

[2] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity. (New York: Simon & Schuster Touchstone edition, 1996), 109, 111.

[3] Edwards, Jonathan. The Works of Jonathan Edwards: Volume I & II (Kindle Locations 35548-35552). Candid Publishing. Kindle Edition.

 

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