Words of Wisdom: Arrogance and Jealousy Close Ears, Proverbs 27:1-6
Don’t boast about tomorrow, for you don’t know what a day might bring. Let another praise you, and not your own mouth – a stranger, and not your own lips. A stone is heavy and sand, a burden, but aggravation from a fool outweighs them both. Fury is cruel, and anger is a flood, but who can withstand jealousy? Better an open reprimand than concealed love. The wounds of a friend are trustworthy, but the kisses of an enemy are excessive. Prov 27:1-6 (HCSB)
How long does it take before everyone begins to find an exit when there is a person in the room seeking all the attention by bragging about their accomplishments? Any listening the person does is to get fuel for the next story that somehow is always bigger or better than what the other person just shared. We all like to contribute to a conversation among friends, and we all are a little guilty of coloring our stories to suit the company and the conversation from time to time, but there are people who take that to an art-form and their purpose is not to simply share in the conversation, but to dominate it.
A braggart is one who takes the gift of the gab to a level where it is all about him or her – sharing that no one is bigger, better, or more accomplished in anything. They have been everywhere, done everything, and they know everyone, and have stories to prove the point. The confidence level of the braggart chokes the truth right out of the words of every story. If by chance someone tries to one-up the braggart, “jealousy” rocks the braggart into another gear of verbosity and creativity, and they regain the control of the conversation with even more animation that before.
However, when all is finally said, and the words finally fade because there are no more ears to listen, who remains standing alone? The braggart with all his or her arrogance and jealousy has driven away everyone because of their animated and verbose conversations about “self” are never interesting or encouraging to others.
Relationships that build into friendships require respect for one another, and true friends listen and encourage one another in a conversation.
Can you think about people you know who demand the spotlight at the expense of others to make themselves seem more important than they truly are? How close of a friend is that person to you and to others? God’s will, God’s ways and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word is foreign to such a person because he or she knows that God will have the final say on any matter they desire to boast about and that is a burden to them. But, they struggle to realize that God also is their only hope to find humility and genuine peace in their life. When our speech is bathed in truth and humility we find God’s approval, and there resides peace and freedom that draws others into our circle of friends and family once again.
What is our role in this? Pray for such people we stumble across, and realize the best way to quiet a braggart is to just listen. Listening removes the fuel to spark more verbosity. Then, try to build a bridge that will lead him or her to listen to the Lord who has a story to tell them that he or she cannot possibly top! And when you do boast, boast only of your weaknesses and faults – the braggart will dare not try to top you then!
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” You don’t even know what tomorrow will bring –what your life will be! For you are a bit of smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes. Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So, for the person who knows to do good and doesn’t do it, it is a sin. James 4:13-17 (HCSB)