Man’s tendency to boast about himself has been on shameless display on social media, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The craze of snapping self-portraits and posting them on social media has caught on with a generation enamoured with self-promotion. Some even say, “My day is not complete until the selfie is posted.” Alas, the narcissistic tendencies of man have found a platform for free expression in social media! Self-centredness and an excessive desire to be admired by others are plaguing our modern society.
Though self-boasting seems to give self-satisfaction, those who are engaged in it are unaware of its maladies. They are deluded by the vainglory of self-praise. They pride themselves on their looks, abilities, achievements, willpower, and self-righteousness. Scripture warns us that “in the last days perilous times shall come” when “men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud,” etc. (2 Timothy 3:1-2).
To boast about oneself is to talk in a bragging manner, and is manifested by prideful speaking about oneself and about the things one possesses or does. God disdains this and regards it as vile and abominable. A boastful person is depicted as wicked, materialistic, arrogant, vulgar, accursed and suchlike. “For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth. The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them. He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity. His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity” (Psalm 10:3-7).
Scripture tells us that prideful, swelling speech characterises Satan (Isaiah 14:12-15), Antichrist (Daniel 7:8, 11, 25; 8:11; 11:36-37; Revelation 13:5-6), false teachers (2 Peter 2:18; 1 Timothy 6:4), and many churchgoers of the last days (2 Timothy 3:1-2; Jude 16), as well as all that are wicked (Psalms 17:9-10; 73:8-9). The apostle Paul classifies the proud and the boasters in the same category as the haters of God (Romans 1:30). It is then obvious that the persistent habit of self-boasting is a sure mark of the unregenerate person. Hence, no child of God should indulge in it.
Self-boasting is a sin that affects people of all ages – children, youths and adults alike. The book of Proverbs cautions us against boastful speech. It is depicted as foolish utterances of an egoistic person, which will surely lead him to his own dishonour. The overall perception about boasting that the wisdom of Proverbs gives, is that it is not only unwise but also destructive. Self-exaltation will not lead to real, lasting excellency or advantage. So, God’s people are exhorted to avoid all forms of prideful talk. Consider the following admonitions from the book of Proverbs:
From the above selected admonitions from Proverbs, God’s people indeed must beware of and avoid all forms of boastful speech. Finally, we must also realise that prideful speech leads to violence and punishment: “In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride” (Proverbs 14:3a). The foolish talk of a person, who is arrogant, hardened and thick-headed in his ways, results in him being punished with a rod. Unguarded words of arrogance can also engender violence, and can act as “a rod” hurting others. So, let us guard our speech, and let it be rid of a self-exalting spirit that troubles others and ourselves.