By: Pastor Bob Erbig
Now practically speaking, humble bragging has nothing to do with being humble. When you humblebrag you are either:
(1) Complaining about something.
(2) Boasting about something.
(3) Or it is some combination of both.
Often, people will publicly complain about something being so difficult, “my garage is too small for my expensive car” or we boast about our accomplishments and call it humility, like receiving a prestigious honor.
Why do we do this? Well, David Brooks gets it right, as this is a cultural phenomenon. We live in a culture of self-obsession. 21st century American people like to complain and we like to boast. Think about the current engines of culture:
· Social Media: While it can be used as a force for good to connect people and spread the message of the Gospel, most often it is used for selfish gain. When we post on social media we crave the likes, the loves, the comments. We snap a photo to make sure people know I’m eating a healthy lunch, I’m buying stylish shoes, I’m even keeping up with my Bible reading plan. Social media fuels, it’s a platform the humble brag.
· Culture of Fame: And this is because we live in a culture obsessed with fame. With one device and an online account we can become famous! But here is the lie of the humblebrag, we start to think we are more important than we actually are.
We are a people who like to complain and we like to boast. We can become so obsessed with ourselves we often need to tell people how humble we are! Here is what I want you to notice, when we build our identities on the foundation of SELF, there is no room for Jesus, because it’s all about us. When we are obsessed with SELF, there is nothing to unify us with other people. And that’s a problem. The humblebrag, complaining and boasting, they are the enemy of unity in the church.
Look around. Can we all agree that unity is dying in our world or that it’s dead already. The culture of self-obsession has taken a toll. The disunity of our world has spilled over into the church. But the thing is, we desire unity, we long for unity. How do we get it back? In the midst of a culture much like ours, Paul writes these words to the Philippians:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV)
Humility. True humility is what we need. As we will see today, from the time of the Philippian church, there is conflict not just outside the walls of the church, but inside as well. Why? Conflict arises when we do not get what we want. “I don’t like the music, there are not enough programs for me, the pastor preaches too long or too short (it’s always the former!).” In Philippians 2, Paul tells us this, disunity often flows from a heart obsessed with the self. It is the lie of the HUMBLEBRAG