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Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.
– Proverbs 27:2Self-promotion is nauseating and obnoxious to others (Proverbs 25:27). It is similar to the presumptuous confidence above, only centered on exalting oneself. Wisdom offers at least two reasons we should refrain from self-praise. First, wisdom teaches to let another man and a stranger to give us any praise due to us. This points to a more objective evaluation than a self-evaluation. Second, wisdom teaches the ultimate objective evaluation comes from God (Proverbs 16:2; 21:2). Reference to thine own mouth and thine own lips in the negative shows self-praise an invalid use of our speech. Wisdom teaches at least four right uses of our speech: instructing in wisdom (Proverbs 13:14; 15:7), giving correction (Proverbs 25:12; 27:5-6; 28:23), speaking to needs (Proverbs 12:18, 25; 15:4; 16:24), and coming to another person’s defense (Proverbs 14:25; 24:11; 31:8-9). All of those uses focus on building up others with wisdom and not building up ourselves with self-praise.
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