The Trap of Flattery

I guess we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t like to hear people say good things about us, how good we do a job, how good we look or how great we are. Such remarks make us feel good about our selves but they also open us up to being ensnared by allowing us to think that we have found a good friend and ally or that we are some how really that good. Proverbs 29:5 warns “A man that flattereth his neighbor spreadeth a net for his feet.” Most flatterers have their own agenda when they offer flattering words. They either seek to deceive us or to profit from us. The Message Bible translates Proverbs 29:5 as “A flattering neighbor is up to no good; he’s probably planning to take advantage of you.” The flattering tongue causes us to drop our guard and assume that the person who is flattering us is really on our side. But most of the times that is not true.
“He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.” Proverbs 20:19. (KJV) Notice the warning here. People who flatter tend to be talebearers. They are using their flattery as an entrance into our life so as to gain our confidence so that we would say something that they can use against us. David had this to say, “For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.” Psalm 5:9. He points out that these individuals speak from a throat that is nothing more than a grave. They desire death for us , not the life they portray.
Flatterers are deceitful. The definition of flattery is insincere praise; to gratify by falsification and to encourage falsely. They expose us to the desire to secure the praise of men and therefore seek to do what will make men praise us rather than to do what is right. Matthew 6:1-5 and 16-21 sets forth examples of what happens when one does anything to be seen of men or to receive the praise of men. When we do that we have our reward (their flattering words), but we run the risk of losing our eternal reward. Choose whose reward we want—-God’s or man’s!
God has never been much for flatterers. “They speak vanity every one with his neighbor: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips and the tongue that speaketh proud things: Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?” Psalm 12:2-4. “A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.” Proverbs 26:28. God desires that we deal with each other in truth. “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.” Ephesians 4:25.
We should be able to tell the difference between a compliment and flattery. A compliment is a recognition of a fact about us spoken rarely. (You look nice in that dress, I read your article, it was good) Flattery is a statement about us or what we have done that is mentioned often. (Your article was the greatest article I have ever read; I’ve never heard a better speaker) We need to rely on the Holy Spirit to give us discernment as to what is being presented to us as a compliment or as flattery. We should ask each day for discernment so that no trap will be successful in capturing us with flattery. Remember to keep private things private, speak only to those we have known for a long time and who have proven themselves to us to be closed mouth. Remember, everyone who speaks glowing about us is not always there for us, but they are there for themselves. Be aware that as much as we like to hear good things about us, many of those who are saying the good things are flatterers and they are working ruin for us.

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