“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
someone else, and not your own lips.”
— Proverbs 27:2
I did it again. I can’t believe I haven’t learned yet. I should know better, but it’s so hard not to do it. Most likely, you are like me and struggle too. It’s a small thing yet a big thing. I guess it’s considered part of life, but I refuse to cave in and be like everyone else. I’m talking about pride.
While on the phone with one of my accountability partners, I got fired up because we were having an awesome conversation. For some strange reason, I felt the need to slip in a quick, small, innocent sentence. Or so I thought. We were discussing the response we received from a fellow FCA staff member, and I quickly inserted, “Yeah, and he is a GOOD friend of mine.” I wanted to make sure my accountability partner knew of my significant relationship with this staff member. But I wasn’t simply informing him of our friendship; instead, I was implying things worked out because of my tight relationship with him. I was making myself look good, bragging. I did it again. I had dropped a Pride Bomb!
As soon as I said it, my accountability partner responded, “Why did you have to say that?” I didn’t respond. I knew why I said it but didn’t want to confess.
He then said, “Dan, if you need encouragement, just let me know, and I will give it to you.” Ouch. His word stung. But he was absolutely right! Not only was I praising myself, I was also fishing for praise. I wanted him to think better of me. My small, “innocent” comment screamed, “Look at me! I’m important! I’m significant!”
T.S. Elliot was right when he wrote, “Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important.” Not only did my comment turn the spotlight on me, but it also removed God from the situation. I’d blown up a great, God-centered conversation with a Pride Bomb.
Pride Bombs are unnecessary statements we make that puff ourselves up.
Others can hear them go off a mile away, and they produce the most awful, selfish odor. They reek of self-glorification. In the world of sports, unfortunately, they have become a natural part of the language. Coaches and athletes often aren’t even aware that they set off Pride Bombs, and, even if they are, they brag about it.
Why do we have such a need to brag? Do we really want people to think we have a big head or are on an ego trip? Do we want to be tagged as cocky, full of self and puffed up? Why is it so hard for us to recognize pride in ourselves when others can spot it a mile away? Do we feel we need to prove something to someone? Will others like us more if they know how important we are? Is there something missing in our lives that we desire others to fill? These are all questions we must wrestle with continually.
Maybe the reason is answered by the Spanish proverb, “Tell me what you brag about, and I’ll tell you what you lack.” What’s really crazy is that while we brag so others will like us more, it only makes them want to avoid us. That is messed up.
“No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need, in order to give grace to those who hear.”
— Ephesians 4:29
As Christians, God has called us to a higher standard. He does not want us to go with the flow. He wants us to be humble and to speak with words of grace and thankfulness. He tells us to be humble. Our conversations should puff others up. We should look for opportunities to slip in encouragement. I think it’s safe to say God wants us to drop Encouragement Bombs instead of Pride Bombs. The two bombs are much alike with one exception: the replacement of the word I with the word you.
Pride Bombs say, “I am great.”
Encouragement Bombs say, “You are great.”
Instead of letting our comments drip with self-exhortation, we should drench them in the edification and blessing of others. I can name several people in my life I actively seek out because of the encouragement they offer. They are gifted in building others up with authentic, genuine Encouragement Bombs. When they go off, the effect is love, joy, compassion, blessing and motivation.
This is why I love serving with FCA. It is filled with thousands of staff and volunteers around the world who love dropping Encouragement Bombs wherever they go. They make me feel like I have a red cape on my back and a big “S” on my chest. They make me feel like Superman, because they speak words of life into me—words drenched in hope. Whether it is staff, donors, volunteers or board members, they are always speaking truth into my life.
Just this week, one of our board members said to me: “You are an amazing leader who knows how to see greatness in others.” His words weren’t just make-you-feel-good words, but I-believe-in-you words. What a difference! This person saw God’s greatness in me. Their encouragement wasn’t fake or artificial; it was powerful, purpose-filled edification. They inspire me to do the same and encourage others with specific, direct Encouragement Bombs.
If you are truly walking in accordance with the will of God, you will drop Encouragement Bombs everywhere you go, and He will use them to bring healing and restoration to your community, your city and even your country! May we all be committed to bringing change to our homes, churches, schools, teams or offices through priceless bombs of encouragement. I firmly believe everyone is under-encouraged, so there is a lot of work to be done. Today, will you speak life, or death? The choice is yours.
Lord, please forgive me for dropping Pride Bombs. They do not honor You or others. I know You want me to speak blessings, encouragement and love. Today, I have the opportunity to unleash favor upon others. As a follower for Christ, I desire for You to free up my tongue and unlock my heart. Let it flow so others can be touched and impacted. In Jesus’ name. Amen.