“A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet” (PV 29:5)
Flattery is defined as insincere or excessive praise. The difference between flattery and a compliment is the benefactor. Flattery has a selfish motivation. The flatterer hopes to gain approval or advantage over the one being flattered. That is why flattery is dangerous! Flattery is a snare and a bait! Compliments, however, are sincere acknowledgments of admiration spoken to praise someone else. A compliment is intended to benefit the recipient, whereas flattery benefits the flatterer.

The Bible has a lot to say about flattery. The book of Proverbs warns of the “flattering lips of an adulteress” (Proverbs 6:24; 7:5, 21). Flattery is often the first step to an adulterous affair. A wise person learns to recognize it and separate flattery from sincere compliments. Flattery is often coupled with lying, as a flatterer is not concerned with whether or not he or she is being truthful (Psalm 5:9; Romans 16:18).

Unfortunately, flattery can also be used within Christian circles under the guise of encouragement. Since biblical times, some false teachers have used flattery to lead people astray and to benefit themselves. Paul reminds the church that the apostles had never resorted to flattery in spreading the gospel: “You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed.” (1Thess 2:5). Scripture warns of false teachers who use flattery to introduce heresies intended to deceive Christ’s followers and line their own pockets (2 Pet 2:3; Rom 16:18; Dan 11:32).

Some teachers use flattery as a means to increase personal followings. Leaders desiring to attract a crowd sometimes water down their message until the gospel is reduced to little more than a God-tainted self-improvement program. They pepper their talks with cheerful verses and illustrations designed to make their hearers feel better about themselves (and about the teachers). There is much talk about discovering one’s potential and developing personal greatness. This is nothing more than flattery intended to create popularity for the speaker and his message. It sells books and media time, but it often bears little resemblance to the message Jesus proclaimed! Listen to what you listen!

Jesus’ message did nothing to inflate the self-importance of His hearers. Rather, He stressed the need to die to ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Him. He said that those who desire to keep their lives now will lose them and that, if we love anyone more than Him, we are not worthy of Him (Matt 10:37–39; Lk 9:23; 17:33). These teachings are the opposite of flattery. Jesus never shied away from stating what someone needed to hear because His motivation was always to do His Father’s will (Jn 8:29). Jesus spoke the truth whether it was popular or not. He refused to compromise the Word, even when great multitudes left Him (Jn 6:66). He spoke in love, but He never resorted to flattery for personal gain. As His followers, we should be careful to do likewise!

Prayer: “Dear Holy Spirit please have mercy on me and protect me from the attacks of the evil spirit of flattery. Open my eyes to see the danger and expose the wicked spirit of flattery. Help me to be delivered from every inferiority complex, from foolishness, from every desire to flatter or to be flattered! Deliver me from every weakness of flesh that desires flattery or manipulation. I reject the flattery spirit! Go in Jesus’ name! By the grace of God, I shall flatter no one. I shall refuse flattery! I am free from the snare of flattery! Abba Father, help me to encourage others with the strength of the Holy Spirit. Help me to be satisfied in You alone! I freely declare that You, Lord Jesus, are all I need, now and forever! Help me to only speak the truth in love! Help me to speak like You, Jesus! Help me to be like You, Jesus! This is my prayer this morning! Thank You Father God! In Jesus’ name I prayed, amen!”



    • Silvia Lia Leigh, MD says:

      Dear Lynn, for whatever reason my computer refuses to allow me to enter your blog to comment on your letters…Let me say here that you are a blessing to me… continue to worship God, to write and to paint… He will reward you in heaven and even on earth! God bless you!

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