Excessive compliments given to a person to get favour is flattery. In the world of business, politics and other public spaces, flattery is common. Since it is not based on truth, it is dangerous. Flattering tongues brings ruin. (Proverbs 26:28) Flattery has selfish motivation and evil intention. Flattery could be categorised into three.
1. Flatter God: People try to flatter God and get His grace and gifts. God was upset with the Nation of Israel for such foolish behaviour. “But they flattered Him with their mouths; they lied to Him with their tongues. Their heart was not steadfast toward Him; they were not faithful to His covenant.” (Psalms 78: 36-37) Prophet Isaiah said the people of Israel approached God using their lips, but their hearts were far off. (Isaiah 29:13)
2. Flatter self: There are many people who flatter themselves and destroy themselves. “Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated. The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good.” (Psalms 36:1-3) Many addicts flattered themselves that they have a strong will and could overcome their habit easily.
3. Flatter others: Flattering others is to spread a net to trap them. There are traps laid to be caught is sexual immorality. (Proverbs 6:24; 7:5,21) Some people use flatter to gain advantage. They are kind-hearted and sensitive to others’ needs. People with evil intentions flatter them and loot their resources. False teachers use flattery to gain the attention of believers who are not alert and mislead them. (I Thessalonians 2:5) Even today, there are many Christian workers who exaggerate miracles God performed through their ministry or their effectiveness in ministry or fruitfulness in their mission. These are flattery to woo the donors, sponsors and new devotees.
Believers should be careful not to flatter others which is sin and not be flattered by others to avoid disaster, ruin and misery.
Do I flatter or enjoy being flattered?