Friday, August 22, 2014

Flattery will get you....nowhere

I have always been wary of people that use excessive flattery.  Like any woman, I like to be complimented...but not to the point where I have to wonder, "What do you want?"  Kind of like of when my son comes and puts his arms around me and says, "you know, mom, I really love you.  Is there anything I can do for you today?"  I wonder what exactly he is going to ask me for later that I will more than likely say yes to since he was so "sweet."  That's not to say that my son always has ulterior motives...he is a great kid and his father and I are so blessed to be his - and all our kids - parents.  But....flattery is not always a good thing. 

I find that as I advance in my career in the business world flattery becomes more and prevalent. When I say flattery, I am not talking about simple compliments, I am talking about excessive flattery meant to puff up and appeal to our pride.  Pride is one of the fleshly sins that we should be putting to death and flattery and pretty words should not take root in a heart that is humble and without Pride.  Flattery is not looked upon favorably in the Word, either.  In fact, 

Proverbs 29:5 - A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net under his feet. 

The original Hebrew for "net" refers to a device used to catch animals....or in other words a snare.  We can trap ourselves with our words and the intent behind those words.  Compliments at face value are not harmful, but what is the intent behind those words?  

Proverbs 26:23-26 - Fervent lips with a wicked heart are like earthenware covered with silver dross.  He who hates, disguises if with his lips, and lays up deceit within himself; When he speaks kindly, do not believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart; Though his hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness will be revealed before the assembly. 

"like earthenware covered with silver dross..."  Earthenware is simply pottery, plain, simple...and easy to break.  Silver dross is just something to make the pottery look like something it isn't...or to look more valuable.  The silver dross disguises what is on the inside....

When people go overboard with their flattery, we should take that as a clue as to what is in their hearts and guard ourselves against attacks from the enemy.  The most important thing we can do is to guard our hearts. 

Proverbs 4:23-27 - Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of spring the issues of life.  Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you.  Let your eyes look straight ahead and your eyelids look right before you.  Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.  Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil.  

We must be careful the things flatterers say to us do not take root in our hearts.  Our pride should be crucified daily and we must put on the armor of God daily.   We also must not participate in being a flatterer or allowing our eyes to leave the path we are walking.  I know I have to be careful what comes out of my mouth.  Sometimes I can be cruel if I do not keep a check on my thoughts and my words.  I have to be sure I am concentrating on the good things we are told to think on (Philippians 4:8).  When we begin to allow other thoughts enter our minds, we can fall prey to the enemy.  

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