Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4
A frequent metaphor for being boastful or prideful is to be “puffed up.” Funny how, in nature, animals will puff up to make themselves seem bigger when a predator is nearby. The instinct occurs out of fear.
Anybody else not surprised by that? Pride can be a big issue for me sometimes and it stems from insecurity, which stems from fear of being forgotten, or fear that I don’t matter.
Perhaps the most culturally relevant example of this kind of pride or boastfulness comes in the form of one-ups. We one-up each other all. the. time. Why? Because we don’t want to be left out. We want to seem like we know what’s going on, but not only that, we know more than the other person. We went higher, or faster, or got drunker, or saw the movie more times, or to sum up – I have a better story than you. Whenever I get caught up in this, I feel pretty awful afterwards. Like how I feel when I’ve eaten too many chocolate chip cookies.
Healthy pride is fine – but it comes from a different place. I would call healthy pride “confidence.” And confidence stems from humility, which stems from gratitude for the gifts God has given us. And it’s wonderful to be proud of someone else, as long as that pride is genuine and not out of a self-seeking heart.
So why is love not boastful or proud? Again, like envy, love puts others first. Those who wear God’s love don’t think of themselves – not because they’re not worth thinking about, but because God has filled them with His love and they have no need to feel insecure. They know they matter and they are not forgotten. They never one-up people. They’re the ones who listen to people like me when I puff myself up and then don’t judge me for the fact that my insecurity is showing.
p.s. I’m glad humans don’t really have the ability to puff themselves up. That would be pretty gross.