OK, Bible students out there, have you ever had a verse or a portion of a verse that stayed in your mind and just would not let you capture it in its entirety? Perhaps you thought of it at an awkward moment when you couldn’t look it up in your notes, find it in the Bible, or even check for it on a computer? This often happens to me when I’m driving or doing something else that I must complete. I’ve been thinking about this subject for more than two weeks – off and on, of course.
I heard a silly girl (well, she is an adult lady with children of her own) say something, and then she wrote it on a social media forum, which is worse, and I couldn’t get out of my mind. I knew that I had taught a verse that warned against what she had so publicly done, but I couldn’t grasp the full meaning for a few days. She had a smidgeon of airtime on a local television station, which she often begs to get, and she said and wrote, “Do you know anyone else as famous as I am?” Yes, my dear, thousands of people that are really famous for some good reason and not calling attention to themselves out of sheer pride.
She is one of those “it’s all about me” people: “I can do this. I can do that. I can save money. I can make crafty things. I can teach. I can loose weight. I can outthink all of you other women. My family is the best. I have the most brilliant children. My husband is a jock and a lover.” Do you know anyone like this? Believe me, I have little use or time for the drama queens that seldom seem to share or to help anyone else in any way unless it benefits them directly and all the world knows. This girl is only happy if she is in the spotlight. Don’t be alarmed. I know several people in this category and most often, it doesn’t bother me and I honestly find myself feeling sorry for them. I for sure feel sorry for their family members who are taunted by their behavior.
But on this one occasion, it went over the top and caused me to start thinking about this one verse. I found it today. It is very clear. Anyone who claims to be a Bible student can find it, too. Look at Proverbs very carefully, folks. There’s some good teaching there that can change our daily lives if we read and abide by what it says to our hearts.
Chapter 27 begins by teaching that we should “Boast not thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” And then Verse 2 is what had been nagging my mind: “Let another praise thee, and not thine own mouth, a stranger, and not thine own lips.” In today’s language it might read, “Don’t brag on yourself too much. You might not even be here tomorrow. If you do well, let someone else brag on you, but don’t do it for yourself.”
My mother was filled with funny expressions, and I honestly wish I had written more of them down, but one fits aptly here: “Self-praise stinks, and I’m sure I smell something.”
We all know folks like I have described. For one reason or another, this type of person, male or female, is insecure, needs approval or seeks to fill the spotlight, and it is difficult to remain calm and sensitive around them for long periods of time. It is also difficult to keep from feeling used by their many schemes, asking for money for their cause, guilting people into being involved in one of their ideas, and demanding attention or cooperation.
Remember, when entangled in one of these webs, folks can see through the veneer and they know the truth. I would so much rather wait on the praise of God or some kind and honest comment from my friends. Lord knows, we can all do better about complimenting each other on good things accomplished, goals met, or lives improved, but it turns people off when we brag on our own ability and good fortune.
There are 31 chapters in Proverbs. Perhaps we should agree to read one chapter each day of the month.