THE SORROW OF FOOLS AND THE WINDBAG

By Akin Ojumu

Apostle Paul had many problem Churches, the Corinthian Church was chief amongst them all. In 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Paul wrote to the Christians at Corinth to address the myriads of issues at the Church that had been brought to his attention.

The Corinthian Christians were one of a kind. They were sexually immoral, engaged in incest, got caught up in paganism and idolatry, litigious, gluttonous, drunkenness, formed cliques, bought into philosophies, and they counterfeited the Spiritual Gifts.

Just a few years after the Church had been planted by Paul, the Corinthian Christians had already been completely Corinthianized – a verb used to describe an immoral life and wanton living. The pagan society in which they lived had already infiltrated and taken over the Church; while the Church took on the form of worldliness, the Corinthian society continued unabated in its evilness.

Educalingo describes the term corinthianize this way:

The reputation for having a variety of sexual practices in the city of Corinth was widespread so much that a Greek author coined a new Greek verb “corinthianize” that meant “to participate in immoral sexual practices. Ritual fornication, i.e. having sex with temple prostitutes as a pagan religious ritual, had become so deeply ingrained in the Corinthian culture that in the first century, “to Corinthianize” was a synonym for sexual immorality, and “a Corinthian girl” was a euphemism for a prostitute. The word " Corinthianize” was used proverbially for an immoral life and wanton living.

In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul presented a graphic illustration of the spiritual and moral decay of the Corinthian Christians and contrasted them by painting a vivid portrait of the love and purity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That chapter of the letter to the Corinthians depicts the character of God, i.e. God is love, in contrast with the character of an evil and depraved people.

Amongst the several shortcomings of the Corinthian Christians were widespread envy and rampant boasting. These issues were specifically addressed in 1 Corinthians 13:4. “Love…does not envy; love does not boast (parade itself), is not puffed up…”

Envy and Boasting are two sides of the same loveless coin.

The Greek word translated envy, has a root word that means “to boil.” It is the inner boiling over somebody else’s achievement, the seething over somebody else’s success, the fuming somebody else’s victory, the steaming over somebody else’s beauty, etc.

Envy has been described as the enemy of honor and the sorrow of fools. Shakespeare called it the green sickness i.e. to be green with jealousy. And Solomon said it is the rottenness of the bones. The man full of envy not only wants something that somebody else has, he wishes they don’t even have it at all.

Boasting is envy’s evil twin. The root word translated boastful literally means a “windbag.” A windbag is the hot air that comes out of the mouth of a proud, conceited person.

While an envious man craves to have what somebody else has, the boastful man, on the other hand, wants somebody else to want what he has; he wants other people to die of envy of what he has. The windbag is the showoff who parades himself about and brags just to make other people feel bad about who he is or what he has, and to make them feel he is superior to them.

A boastful person is a braggart who is always shooting off his mouth about his own accomplishments and achievements. He is the arrogant hot balloon who ceaselessly engages in baseless chatter designed to make himself look better than others. Such a man is puffed up with exaggerated sense of self worth and inflated ego; he swims in the mucky waters of rank narcissism. 

The quintessential windbag brags about his prowess and his intelligence; he considers himself superior to everyone else, he thinks he knows every subject and every topic more than everybody else; in his mind, nobody knows any subject more than he does. He easily takes offense when he is made to look inferior, incapable, insufficient, or inadequate. He lashes out at those he deems to have accomplished more than himself; he calls them names and ridicules them, all in an attempt to put them down and make them look small and himself look big. Such is the way of the windbag.

A man full of envy and boastful has no love in him, because love does not envy, it is not boastful or puffed up. Such a man is not of God, because God is love.

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