After I thought about how I wanted to share something exciting, I started to wonder if whether or not what I see people share is simply that: sharing exciting news. Maybe it really is "hey! I am excited about this great thing that happened to me" instead of "hey! Look at me and who I know or what I did."
I knew there was a verse in the New Testament about boasting in the Lord, and so I wanted to look it up as well as other occurrences of the word boast and see what I found (please note that the following thoughts are my initial thoughts; I wanted to get this ready to post for another round of the Ultimate Blogging Challenge) so I didn't look up any commentaries or even at the notes in my Bible).
When Paul writes to the Corinthians, he tells them that if he is going to boast, he "will boast of the things that show [his] weakness" (2 Corinthians 11:30). And in his letter to the Galatians, he writes "May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Galatians 6:14). And in his first letter to the Corinthians, he writes that he is glad he only baptized Crispus and Gaius, "so that no one can say that [they]were baptized in [his] name" (1 Corinthians 1:14-15). Paul does not want the focus to be on himself, but on Jesus. He doesn't want people to follow him; he wants people to follow Jesus. He goes on to say at the end of this chapter that, regarding calling, God chooses the foolish, the weak, the low, and the despised so that nobody may boast about themselves in the presence of God. And then, in 2 Timothy 3:2 he warns Timothy that "people will be lovers of themselves" and will be boasters (among a litany of other things).
Can you imagine if our Facebook pages looked like that?
- Hey! Today I came in dead last in my race!
- I lost my temper and yelled at my kids all day long. Not really thinking of them as a blessing today.
- Nobody likes me.
- I really stink at leadership, even though I'm supposed to be good at it.
- I am so glad nobody follows me on Twitter
- I did the stupidest thing today
- I hurt someone I really care about
- Look at all my pictures of when I had the flu [instead of an exotic vacation]
Later, though, Paul does tell Timothy this: "Now you have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and suffering..." (2 Timothy 3:10-11).
I thought, gee, doesn't that seem as if he is bragging about himself, listing all those good qualities he has? Can you imagine if you saw someone post that on Facebook? We'd think they were really full of themselves.
But I think rather than boasting, Paul is just confident in himself and his purpose is not to make Timothy think Paul is so great, but rather, his purpose is to encourage Timothy in his own faith.
I think that is the key, here. When we draw attention to ourselves, are we doing it so that people notice us, or are we doing it so that people notice Jesus and are encouraged in their own faith?
What are your thoughts about the fine line between boasting and genuinely sharing news and exciting life events? What would your Facebook page look like if you boasted of your weaknesses? What is the line between confidence and arrogance? When you post exciting news, what is deep in your heart behind posting it?