Love Does Not Boast


In the ’50s there were a lot of stories still hanging around from the World War II years. I remember one in particular about three little boys. One day these three boys were sitting around and began to argue about their dads and the war. The boys were boasting, as we may have done ourselves, about how great their dads were during the war. Each boy wanted to do his best to outdo his buddies. 

The first boy proclaimed, “My dad shot down three enemy planes, and they gave him a stripe for it.” Not wanting to be outdone the second boy said, “That’s nothing, my dad shot down four planes and sunk a battleship single-handedly and got two stripes.” Finally, the third boy sat up and smiled a huge smile, “My dad’s got both your dad’s beat. He robbed a bank and got stripes all over him.”

We all get caught into the trap of boasting from time to time. We proudly say, “Look at what I have,” “Guess where I’m going,” “Let me show you.”, “Let me tell you.” And so on and so on.

We all do it. I do it. In fact, let me tell you about my granddaughters. I can open my wallet and show you their picture, make you look at my phone or the background on my computer. They’re the prettiest, cutest, best granddaughters anyone could ever have. Now that’s not boasting; that’s a fact!

So why does Paul say, “Love does not boast”? Simply it’s because when we boast of what we have, it puts on an air of superiority over those who might not have what we have. It, in a way, is a way of belittling someone else by calling attention to what you have and how much better it is than what they have.

I’ve learned not to boast in certain situations. I’ve learned not to boast about my grand-daughter around certain people who have lost a grandchild or are older and don’t have any grandchildren. I don’t brag about what I have or what I’m going to do around people who are less fortunate than I am. Love means considering other’s feelings before you speak or act. 

It’s interesting in 1 Corinthians 13 how this statement follows, “love does not envy. In other words, we learn to be content without desiring what others have and not boasting of what we have. In turn, both follow “love is kind.”

A man once owned a home, and because his friends kept boasting of what they had, he became envious of them and decided to sell his home and buy a bigger one. He called a real estate agent who came and looked at his house and listed it on the market for him. He then proceeded to search the paper for a home he could be proud of and about which he could boast to his friends. Finally, he found one. The description sounded perfect, precisely what he wanted. He quickly picked up the phone and called his realtor. The realtor took his information to make an appointment, then paused and said, “Sir, that’s the house you’re living in now!”

Paul tells us that the secret to a happier life is to learn to be content. It’s not trying to keep up with our neighbors. It’s not about boasting that I have a more beautiful home, car, or more money. Contentment does not come from boasting, but by learning to find the good in whatever situation we find ourselves. Want to know how to gain satisfaction? Our answer appears at the end of Paul’s statement of thankfulness to the Philippian church.

Philippians 4:12 “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” 

“I CAN do all things THROUGH CHRIST who gives me STRENGTH!

Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ


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