Proverbs 27:2 (NLT)
Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth – a stranger, not your own lips.
If you are trying to get a job, you will need to discuss your abilities as well as your accomplishments. If you are running for office, you will need to explain why you are a better choice than your opponent based on your ideas and track record. But setting those two instances aside, can you think of another time when it would be appropriate for you to “toot your own horn,” so to speak?
God’s Word has a lot to say when it comes to our desire to be noticed and appreciated. It’s wonderful to be recognized at work for a job well done. It’s lovely for your spouse and/or kids to praise you for how you care for your family. It’s entirely appropriate to be applauded for taking heroic action or coming to the service of others. Those things are natural reactions to good deeds and we should thank God for them, but we are never to SEEK them for ourselves…and we are never to do them just to be SEEN.
In today’s sell yourself world, this proverb’s admonition to not toot your own horn has become counter-cultural. We Tweet our opinions hoping to get re-Tweeted. We Facebook post our highlights in order to get Likes. We Instagram photos of our best moments in the hopes of picking up more followers. We seem to be tireless self-promoters in search of validation, recognition, and praise…but wasn’t that accomplished to the highest degree possible when the Creator of the Universe left his holy home to walk through the muck of our fallen world – never praising Himself – and ended up on a bloody cross as an innocent man, willingly tortured and executed to pay your sin debt to make it possible for you to be forgiven and ushered into eternal bliss?
Of course, it was.
Praise is only as good as it’s source. Our own praise is too tainted to be useful as we are too close to our own situations to see ourselves clearly, and our sin nature adds an asterisk to every self-assessment we make. The praise of others can be a great blessing when it has been earned and is not a tool of flattery for gain. But the simple pleasure taken in you by your Heavenly Father is pure and beautiful and everlasting…and was pinned to a cross in public and in broad daylight over two thousand years ago.