That Flattering Tongue

“Sir, you seem like a man with a look of professionalism and authority.” That was the first time I heard such great words spoken about me. And it certainly felt great. Then the man went on: “You surely deserve to be recognized and acknowledged for the person you are.”

For a moment I basked in that great euphoria. I always wondered when people would begin to realize and acknowledge how “awesome” I am. But as the conversation went on, I began to realize that those great words of praise were just carefully devised words of flattery. He was simply trying to get me to join his multi-level marketing team.

The great words of praise directed towards me seemed to take on a new image as he began explaining how I would be on the road to wealth and affluence if I just attend one of their meetings. When I was hit by the sudden shift of emotions, I realized the potential danger in flattery. The psalmist said “For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongues” (Psalm 5:9).

Nothing new. People have always recognized the inner desire for acceptance and honor. In every society, people have longed for such acceptance. This longing has been leveraged by business people, marketers, politicians, and by many who want to influence others.

So if the need for acceptance and recognition is universal, then what’s the problem with flattery? Why not use it for our own desired results? It would seem that nature has designed it so.

There is a place for praise and acknowledging one’s accomplishments. Indeed we are to recognize others and encourage the good in them. But the problem with flattery is the purpose. The above verse says “their throat is an open grave.” This implies a selfish purpose. When words of praise are spoken solely for the purpose of benefiting the one who speaks, it becomes dangerous flattery.

Now I remember with amusement my experience of being the recipient of flattery. How fragile our emotions are and how easily we can be influenced!

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  1. sam varghese

    Sir it became very normal phenomina in the society, people usually talk with an hidden benifit for themself, let us be different in that as much as possible by our self by His Grace. Thanks a lot for your writing…

  2. Johnny R Deaton

    very interesting example of how we need discernment.may God grant us discernment.Lord bless you bro alexi

  3. Sam Peter

    It reminds Pharisees and Scribes approaching Jesus with some sweet words to trap Him. A well said article, Pastor.
    Bible has every warning, but we often miss to check it out to life.

  4. Jibin

    It’s a phenomina, and if it’s a phenomina then that’s an experience.
    experience results a person in 2 stages

    1. Either from there afterwards he will talk less or rather share less
    2. Don’t Allow anyone to come near to him/her.

    End Results

    1. Bad : A Frustrated person at both (delivering/receiving) ends:

    True christianity is nowhere.You can’t see honest friendship even.
    When we see the Bible it tells us how to move forward.
    Paul who did lot for christ & Paul he who was a great Man of God.
    But the study he studied. & the respect he got from the society is nill.

    I put it this way. This is only an imagination but still you can guess how he was and what he got.

    Paul got his IIT from Mumbai then got selected in IIM Ahmadabad. There after on completing his studies.He met Our Lord Jesus .

    He was born in a wealthy family with Good reputation.he left all for Jesus.He travelled a lot.Established churches and was busy in spreading the Gospel

    One day while traveling from Traos he got captured by the Roman soldiers where he had to leave his cloak and books at the home of Carpos. From there he walked 600 miles to come to ROme. He got jailed. There also he didn’t stopped
    He there started Prison Ministry.There he saved Omniphorus that we read in Philomon

    From Jail he used to write letters to the churches.
    Since he was in the the Jail for past 10 years everybody forgotten him. Demas also forgotten him. This we can read in 2nd Timothy ch4.Then he told Timothy to bring his old cloak which he left. What does this Old Cloak shows?
    It shows everybody forgotten him.No One to give even a cloak to wear.

    The judge asked again?,what you gained in life?
    SO much you studied?but no respect in the society
    So much wealth you had?
    NOw you are zero.
    Nothing to pass any asset to the spiritual son even?

    The judged asked him “Paul” didn’t you tell anybody that you have nothing even to wear
    This is the person who said in 2nd Timothy ch1:12 He said i know whom I have believed.

    The judge asked again. Still you lost everything nothing to wear?. Paul replied
    My Guru is Jesus ,When HE was laid on the Cross,People didn’t allow HIM also to wear
    then should I run for all these worldly things?.

    Paul have truly said
    Is the Gospel going in the right direction?.



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