Devotion #120

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV

Love does not boast, it is not arrogant, and it is not rude. When these three characteristics are considered together, we are describing a prideful person. God calls us to a life of humility, one where we are consistently putting others before ourselves. It’s important to truly analyze each of these characteristics and how they manifest themselves in our lives if we are ever to reach that humble calling for our lives. If you deny these traits exist in your hearts, you may be struggling with pride—they exist in all of us. It is true they can all be subtle, and without the magnifying glass of scripture, we may miss them. Our job to become keenly aware of what they look like in our own hearts so that we can surrender our pride in confession and repentance.

Boasting is a focus on self-accomplishments and, at its root, seeks praise from others as recognition of those accomplishments. As someone who struggles with this sin, I can tell you the root of boasting is fear of man. Any time we boast, we are seeking the approval of man and not the approval of God. We all get caught in this trap because the praise of man is tangible and comforting. The reality is we love to hear from others how awesome we are, especially when we struggle to see it ourselves. Sometimes boasting happens when we are in moments of despair or when we’ve been made to feel like a failure by comparison—boasting in these moments can make us feel better about ourselves or reassure us that we are worthy of praise. Sometimes boasting happens as a celebratory response to some accomplishment or achievement. In these moments, we don’t consider how our boasting impacts those around us, we just want people to join in the recognition of how great we are. Most often, though, people who struggle from this sin can trace it back to an important person or experience in their past that made them feel like a failure. When we feel unworthy, it’s because someone or something made us feel that way, and boasting is a way of reassuring ourselves that we have value. At its root, boasting is sin because it fails to acknowledge our accomplishments, possessions, or stature are all gifts from above.

Arrogance is an inflated view of self. This view is stored deep within our hearts and defines our way of thinking. We are exhorted multiple times in scripture not to think highly of ourselves. When we are thinking too highly of ourselves, we are easily offended or hurt by the actions of others primarily because we have a plan on our minds for how they should treat us. Our needs rank above others, and when another person violates our perceived need, then we walk away feeling unvalued. We defend our pride by pointing to the actions of others and holding them up as wrong. It can be so challenging to dig down and truly find the pride in our hearts, especially when it’s been buried for years under “justified” hurt, but if you truly analyze the feelings underneath the pain, you’ll find a focus on yourself and a violation of what you perceive as right. Boasting mixed with arrogance is especially dangerous when engaging in conflict. It is a focus on what the other person did wrong, with no recognition of your contribution to the conflict.

The opposite of arrogance is humility, which is not a deflated view of self as much as it is an inflated view of others. It’s putting others needs before your own. It’s not taking offense at what others say or do, but rather working hard to take their perspective and understand their point of view.

Some believe they do not struggle with arrogance because they struggle with depression—they have such a low view of self that they don’t even value their life. Sadly, a low view of self is not humility, it is an extreme case of arrogance because of the intensified view of self. They are exceptionally focused on themselves. To battle low self-worth and depressive thoughts, shift your thinking to others instead of yourself. Begin serving others to take the focus off of you, and you will find those depressive thoughts begin to flee.

Being rude is connected to pride because it is a lack of respect. We are called to respect others, especially those in authority over us. Our husbands, our bosses, our church leadership, our parents. Our words should always be building others up, not tearing them down. We act rudely when we fail to speak respectfully to these people in our lives, or when we fail to speak to others about them with a respect. Being rude is sin because it is arrogance in words. It communicates a lack of value and importance to the other person.

Take the time to look for where your heart hides arrogance, boasting, or rudeness—each of these are destructive traits in a marriage. God will reveal those places to you if you seek Him, but remember, we should be searching our own hearts, not our spouses. Surrender the parts of your heart in confession and repentance—to God and to your spouse—and watch Him pour blessings out into your union.

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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