We asked Kathy Martin, a well known counselor with a thriving practice in Palm Beach County, if she would address questions brought to her by readers of One Christian Voice. And she agreed! Here is the first question we posed to her and her solution.
Why can’t my friends and family share my joy and celebrate my success with me?
I am having an issue in my relationships. I have worked hard and accomplished a lot in life. My friends and family have accused me of being boastful, but I’m not. I worked hard to earn my degrees, and I feel like I am helping people when I share the knowledge I have gleaned from that. I have invested wisely, so I am financially secure, and I won’t be made to feel “less than” by anyone. I love to travel and take the time to take care of myself. But my friends have been telling me, in various ways, that they think I’m bragging, and they’re starting to leave me out of things. One of my Facebook friends insinuated that I post too many selfies. Isn’t that what Facebook is for?? What do I say to them when they accuse me of being boastful? How do I help them understand that I am just sharing my experience and life and joy with them?
While I appreciate the question, I think you’re bringing the problem to me because in your heart you already know the answer. When a person maligns our character we can make a case that the person might be jealous or even argumentative. But when “friends” and “family”, people who love you all tell you the same thing, it’s obvious—-you’re boastful!
The good news is that you apparently have a great work ethic and bright mind, and you’ve used those gifts wisely. The question then becomes whether you’re okay with that identity as a Christian. Christ states in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you so you must love one another.”
This word “love” in the Greek is the word AGAPE. Agape is the love Christ had for us when He died for us. It indicates “self-sacrificial” love putting others above ourselves. In John 3:16, probably the most quoted verse from the Bible, John states that “God so agaped the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Loving others first! Now that defines Christ’s life and death.
The definition for boast is “to talk proudly about one’s deeds or abilities in a manner showing too much pride and satisfaction; to brag.” Therefore boasting is clearly contrary to the example Christ sets before us. And since He was the creator of everything our eyes behold, including our own bodies, He could certainly boast with wild abandon, but He chose humility instead, putting others above Himself.
When you’re speaking of yourself to others, are you putting the feelings of others first? Is your goal to encourage or build them up as Barnabas did who was called “the encourager” in the Bible? Or are you only building yourself up. Sadly most people build themselves up by putting others down. When you speak so highly of yourself, your accomplishments, abilities, etc., you are inadvertently putting others below you! That screams of pride and is contrary to Christ’s example.
Finally, the Bible clearly warns against such pride. Proverbs 16:18 states “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before the fall.” And when Jesus called His 12 Apostles He stated in Mark 9:35, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Christ chose to be last and put us first. But He gave us a free will to choose. Is your desire to follow Christ or to follow the world?
If you would like to ask Kathy a relationship question, please go to pbcvoice.com/ask-kathy and complete the form. Not all questions will be answered.