Day 9 in Proverbs
I think every crowd has one. The person who can’t help bragging. Probably have been one myself from time to time. It’s really easy to get into that place.
Usually it starts off innocently enough…..someone tells you are good at something. Most of us walk around with a layer of insecurity right below our skin, so when this happens we start to feel pretty good about ourselves. That layer of insecurity is still there fully intact, but over the top of it, we let ourselves absorb the compliments. We start to point it out to other people….because we’re feeling pretty good about it and think they want to feel good about it with us. Then it takes on a life of its own. Our outer skin thickens a bit. Before we know it, we are simply a bragger. And there is always someone around who will point it out to us. Who will tell us the truth….that we’re not that great. Not perfect. That something isn’t right. Some do it out of good motives, some out of bad. How we deal with that says a lot about who we are.
Some people hate correction of any type and immediately get angry. “What do you know?” “Well, you’re the only one who thinks that way…..everyone else tells me I am amazing.” “You’re just jealous.”
Other people think it through a bit. They ponder the words of the person who corrected them and try to gain perspective. They usually will eventually find the balance point…the point where they can feel proud of what they have accomplished, but also a bit humble about how they allowed it to inflate them.
Bragging is an issue because when you’re in that state there is usually not much room for much besides your head. You don’t leave room for God. God has issues with that. For good reason. He’s God….and should be seen as bigger than your head.
To be teachable, to be penetrable, to be able to listen to the opinions of others and really hear what they have to say….it goes against our nature. We are willful. Respecting and obeying the Lord….that goes against our nature too. It says in verse 10 that the respect and obedience is the beginning of wisdom. So it is not over yet…..which means there is a lot more to come before we reach the end. We first have to have the respect and obedience in check…..then we can start to really work on obtaining the wisdom. It’s a lifelong process.
If you are giving out advice or confronting the braggart, know that you are risking facing hate, insults and injuries. But you just may hit upon someone who wants to learn and grow…..and they will love you for it.
We need to listen to those who correct us. Sometimes even those with less than pure motives, have worthwhile things to say. Those who want the best for us….they almost always have worthwhile things to say. We don’t always have to agree with those who correct or rebuke us…..but we shouldn’t be quick to rush to anger. Instead we should open the door to the classroom of life and take a seat at one of the desks. And don’t expect to graduate anytime soon!