Hello! After a week off we are back and diving back into 1 Corinthians 13. For the sake of not being repetitive – I have merged “it does not boast,” and “it is not proud” into one post.
Love Does Not Brag, it is Not Puffed Up
Or better said, “love makes no parade.” (James Moffatt). The heart of these two tenants is humility.
The Message writes them as: love doesn’t strut and doesn’t have a swelled head. The Passion Translation says: Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance.
There is this toxic idea out there that love is all about me. Love is about what I can get from another person. It is about getting my needs met. If one day a person stops fulfilling my needs, I can leave because I am unsatisfied. But that is not love, it is self-infatuation.
Love with you in the center is not love, it is narcissism and arrogance.
“When a man begins to boast, he is advertising his emptiness and his ignorance,” Warren Wiersbe writes.
We do not give love to get something back. If I am only showing you love so you love me, so I feel better, or so you do what I want – that is manipulation, which is the opposite of love.
We do not love to be loved. We do not do good things to be praised. If someone is only nice to their kids in public, and people praise them for their goodness, but behind closed doors they are neglectful or mean, does that person really love?
“The really great men do not think of their own importance.”William Barclay
The truth is, it is in humility we display our love.
I do a dozen things for my husband every day regardless of whether he notices or acknowledges them. The things I do daily, make his lunch, empty the dishwasher, etc. I can do either from a spirit of obligation or one of joy. I can pack his lunch only thinking of the ways he does not notice what I do for him, or I can pack his lunch with a sense of appreciation and service. It helps him that I do this.
He does a dozen things for me. He takes out the garbage, washes the dishes, goes out with the dogs first thing in the morning… I can look at D’s actions from a sense of “well, he should do that” or I can appreciate and value what he does as acts of love.
Love never esteems itself. That does not mean it is weak or gets walked on. It does not mean it is never about you. It is one of those odd contradictions we walk only in the wisdom of God. But love does not hinge on us. We are not the point.
Consider Paul’s Example
Paul knew who he was in Christ. He stood assured in the power of the resurrection, the promise of eternity with God. He knew he was totally forgiven for his mistakes. Paul spoke with great conviction and authority, and yet he was humble. It was never about Paul. He was secure in his identity as Christ’s beloved and so did not need to make his life about his ministry, letters, appeal, etc.
That is the heart of this. My identity does not come from being loved. My worth is not tied to how D responds or the approval of others. It is nice, of course, but it is not how I am filled.
If we have our eyes on the right thing then we will walk free from the need for approval, which means we will be free from the temptation to boast or be arrogant. I do not need to point out how amazing I am and all that I do because of my love. I do not need to draw attention for validation and to feel valued.
In reality, all we have and do should be held in light of the cross and that perspective will keep us humble and open.
My stepdaughter got married over the summer. At dinner with her husband, they asked for our advice. I told them – it’s not about you. It’s not about giving only when you get. Don’t keep score. Don’t determine what you will give or do based on what he gives or does. With love, you go first. You make the first move. After a fight, be the one to go back and reach for his hand. When you do not want to – make a move of love.
“Love gives itself no airs,” Moffatt said. So, let it be with us.