I was talking to a good friend of mine on the phone during our weekly check-in and I asked her “When does Testifying Become Bragging?” Is it bragging to share a victory with others? And where is the line? Should we simply be quiet and not publicly rejoice when something good happens for us?
Good question! She replied. She began to tell me what she felt on the subject and I began to tell her my views as well.
At the end of the conversation , we both agreed that there is a difference between bragging and testifying….that difference being intent.
Bragging is defined as being boastful; showing excessive pride and self-satisfaction in one’s achievements, possessions, or abilities.
Testimony is defined as proof or evidence that something exists or is true.
If we don’t testify to God’s goodness in our life, why would those who don’t know God want to get to know Him? It is through our testimonies and our blessings that peaks other interest. Matthew 5:16 reads…
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
When we share our good news, it should be to boast about God and His greatness, NOT ours. Otherwise, all you are doing is…bragging! It’s all about intent.
Sometimes, our testimony may wind up glorifying self rather than God. For example, instead of testifying about his miraculous healing, Hezekiah showed off his material affluence to his Babylonian visitors [Is. 39:2, 5-6]. Consequently, he lost his sons to exile and the miracle of 15 years’ extension of his life became a nightmare.
We must be careful as well that we don’t brag and glorify ourselves, which is what some people purposely and unknowingly do.
Instead of talking about Jesus they use it as an opportunity to talk about themselves, which is no testimony at all.
For instance, there’s some one that you are friends with on social media that only seems to mention God when they are “testifying/bragging. “I just got a brand new car, God is good”. “I just signed the loan docs for my new home, God is good”. But they won’t mention the fact that they were just homeless a year ago. They refuse to let you in on the process God took them through to get them where they are today. They fail to share what all God has delivered them from. This same person just had a major health scare, which they overcame, and by the grace of God is still here to tell about it. Not a word on social media about that. They would rather keep it private. So what’s this person’s intent? Is it to testify of God’s goodness or their own?
Another example is …there’s someone who works in the community, But every time they do something good for someone else, they can’t wait to broadcast it on Social Media or any where else for that matter. Is this person bragging or testifying? Again… it goes back to intent. Is it to testify of God’s goodness or their own?
Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:1-4)
There are no hard and fast rules on the matter. But, each time you find yourself in a situation requiring testimony, pray for God’s guidance because He alone knows how He wants your testimony to glorify Him.