“Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger and not your own lips.”
“Beware of the Me-Monster”. This is actually advice that comedian Brian Regan gives in one of his stand up acts. In it he tells a story of his experience at a dinner party where one of the guests dominated the entire meal talking about himself.
This morning’s Proverb warns us not to be a Me-Monster. A Me-Monster is a boaster, a self-promoter, a person who seeks out the attention of others and is greatly concerned for his or her own recognition. Such a person is often a know-it-all and they are quick to express their opinion on anything and share their experiences with anyone.
Me-Monster is an appropriate title because such behavior is monstrous. It wrecks unity. It is behavior that is antithetic to love and this is the reason God’s Word warns us against it. To be a boaster is shameful and unloving.
In First Corinthians 13 we learn that “love does not parade itself, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own.” And in Philippians 2:3 we are instructed to “let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” This is true humility, to be lowly in mind about ourselves and to consider other people as being better.
Such a frame of mind keeps us from being a Me-Monster and whether we realize it or not, we all have Me-Monster tendencies in us. It can be blatant pride that leads us to boast. We think we have it all figured out and so we brag about such things as: our parenting skills, healthy eating habits, homeschool curriculum, our theology. The list could go on. But, boasting may also arise from feelings of insecurity. In this case talking about ourselves becomes an attempt to elicit praise or sympathy from others.
Whether we boast because we truly think too highly of ourselves and our accomplishments or because we are insecure and are seeking the approval of others, both motivations are selfish. But, loving God and loving our neighbor requires that we get our eyes off of ourselves. It isn’t about you. It isn’t about me.
Our attitudes should be like that of our Lord Jesus. When He walked upon this earth He was a man deserving of praise more than any other man in history and yet He “made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant”. Rather than promoting Himself, He gave of Himself, ALL of Himself. Rather than seeking the praise of men, He pursued the glory and praise of God the Father.
Let us have then, as Paul instructs in Philippians, the same mindset within us. This life that we live is God’s story, not our own. So let Him tell it. Let Him show off His glory and His power through our lives and let us pursue His praise and the good of our neighbors over our own.
Let us also this morning remember that it is because of Jesus’ humility, because of His obedience even unto death on the cross, that we can be forgiven for our pride and selfishness. If we are to boast, let us boast in this: that Jesus Christ has redeemed wretched sinners like you and me; that through His Spirit, He is making us holy and making the Me-Monster within us a weak little creature that soon will be no more.