Flattery Will Get You Nowhere

flattery

We are all aware of the fact that in our human relationships, we can sometimes use flattery as a way of showing our love and affection. We all can remember being flattered and how good it felt, our carnal nature uplifted. But in God’s word we find a very cautious warning concerning the use of flattery.

This week we were guided to read the following Inspiration —

“I lift my voice of warning against praising or flattering the ministers. I have seen the evil, the dreadful evil, of this. Never, never speak a word in praise of ministers to their faces. Exalt God. Ever respect a faithful minister, realize his burdens and lighten them if you can; but do not flatter him, for Satan stands ready at his watchtower to do that kind of work himself.” (Testimonies, vol. 1, p.475)

Take notice of the “Never, never…” part. Rarely in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy has It been so emphatic as this. This shows the Lord’s prophetess getting down to business and forcefully making an important point. There is no doubt that some of us are guilty of this mis-application of praise and flatter.

I can remember saying on a few occasions , to a pastor or even fellow brother or sister who has made a Bible study report or the like–“Wow, that was great, you really did a good job” or the like. This, as shown from Inspiration is a big-no no.

Now to be clear, there is certainly a time and place for this, for example our spouses. We know that for us husbands, our wives like to told they look nice , are smart, etc. (and vice versa). For a Biblical example of the man-woman praise and flatter read “Song of Solomon.” But this family situation is much different in our relations to those in the faith.

Let us examine this snare of Satan and how we can go about complimenting one another yet staying within the above counsel.

There is not only the clear counsel above, but also a warning to the everyday use of  flatter in our worldly relations–
“A man who flatters his neighbor Is spreading a net for his steps.”(Proverbs 29:5)

“Let me now be partial to no one, nor flatter any man. “For I do not know how to flatter, else my Maker would soon take me away. ” (Job 32:21-22)

“He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with the tongue.” (Proverbs 28:23)

But how do we handle this dilemma? How can we be verbally supportive of a brother or sister,  maybe even a pastor or elder?

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some are ; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”(Hebrews 10:25)

The word “exhorting” means to “strongly encourage” and to urge someone to do something. Let’s say you have read a report a brother has made. He has prepared something about Daniel 2, the vision of the stone (144,000) striking the world’s kingdoms. You want to let him know you were blessed by it.

How do we say something “strongly encouraging” yet not flattering? Below are some examples for your consideration.

“Brother, I want to thank you for the report. This Truth, was such a blessing.”

“Praise the Lord! The report opened my eyes to some prophecies I was not aware.”

“These reports are encouraging, may the Lord be praised and the people enlightened.”

Now let’s contrast this to a sinful flattering encouragement.

“Brother your report was great. You are really speaking the truth.”

“Wow, the report you did truly is fantastic and you are truly gifted.”

I am amazed at your written report! I am blessed because of you.”

Notice the stark differences. The top compliments aim to give the credit to the Lord and “His” Truth. Just as SOP counselled–“Exalt God.” The bottom compliments aim to center the praise on the person doing the report not on God.

The Scripture says–

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

The “Truth” is Jesus and belongs to Jesus. We must remember that our work is simply spreading “His” truth. Therefore we should not take any credit for teaching, spreading and communicating His truths.

Someday the Lord will reveal the rewards to the rightful due parties. But now is not our time to collect any praise or flatter. The Lord Himself shall bestow that upon His faithful servants.

“His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matt. 25:23)

 

 

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