At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; A stranger, and not thine own lips.Proverbs 27:2
This particular doctrine is one that has gained widespread recognition in our culture, and even acceptance (on paper). In the ancient world, it was possible for a well-bred man, according to Aristotle, to be very open about his virtues.
But Scripture teaches us that it is perilously easy to be self-deceived, misguided, or delusional about our virtues.
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (Rom. 12:3).
Because of the teaching of Scripture, the expectation that we should avoid too much self-praise has been incorporated into our manners. For those who have been taught good manners, they do avoid this blunder in speech. But only the Spirit of God within us can mortify the silent wish that others would notice us more.
Now while we are the closest witness to our thoughts, efforts, intentions, and deeds, we are also the witness who has strong incentives to inflate the splendor of what was actually accomplished.
And so this proverb says that we should leave the task of praising us to others. Let someone else do it. This creates a problem for us, because it immediately occurs to us that these others might fail in their responsibility of praising us. They might not pick up the ball, and they might not run with it. It is like the two people conversing at the party, where one says, “Well, enough of me talking about me. Time for you to talk about me.” He gives the other a nudge because it turns out that others cannot be relied upon when it comes to how much praise should be lavished on us.
But this proverb would have us contented to receive whatever praise came naturally. And by contented I mean really content.