Proverbs 28: King James Bible
Flattering Words – Daily Devotion of Proverbs chapter twenty eight, Verse 23
23 He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favor than he that flattereth with the tongue.
Daily Inspiration from This Verse – Flattering Words
Flattering words are a tough thing to depart from, especially since everyone born after 1990 has a manic fear of being offensive in any way, unless it’s deliberate. People would rather comfort others with lies, rather than tell the truth and possibly stir the waters a bit.
From cover to cover, I found that the word flatter and all of its various forms (flattereth, flattered, flattering, etc.) is used in 21 places in the KJV Bible. Not once could I find a circumstance where it was used in a positive light.
Isn’t it strange how often we find ourselves using flattering words for reasons that we deem just, or polite? Not once anywhere could I find any circumstance where flattery is called for.
I believe the reason why is because of the disingenuous qualities that must apply in order to be flattering. Above, we see someone finding favor due to rebuking a man rather than flattering him. The reason being, is that the rebuke is honest and true. Flattery, not so much.
Flattering words are meant to manipulate someone’s emotions or outlook, and are rarely anything that’s true. Flattery steps in when the truth becomes an inconvenience for whatever the reason.
Flattering words are also not something that should be confused with good manners, or being polite to people. We can be every bit as polite toward others without feeling the need to lie to them, right?
There’s an old saying: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Somewhere that has turned into: If you don’t have anything nice to say, then make something up that makes people feel good, and make you look like you care.
Digging down to the root of the matter, I believe that using flattering words are much easier than being honest to people. There is a whole lot more work involved with honesty, that is if you’re not looking to be hurtful.
There is a degree of thoughtfulness and care that must go into being honest when you don’t want to cause problems, but would rather be helpful. Then again, if we wanted to cause problems, who needs lies? Honesty can cause all kinds of problems with the snap of the fingers.
As is the usual when we’re walking in the Lord, wisdom is necessary, understanding is just as important, and knowledge a must, when we choose to use truth over flattering words. Just look at our example! Jesus never flattered anyone, but was honest (brutally so at times) toward everyone without concern as to who it was. As he is, so should we be also.
This might seem nit picky, or straining for a gnat, but I don’t believe that it is. The Lord is absolute, and flattery in the Bible is most often used by one’s enemies, rather than friends or loved ones.
Making people feel warm and fuzzy is not our job as Christians. But honesty and truth, mingled with all the fruits of the Spirit is far better and more beneficial toward the recipient, whether they understand that at the time or not.
Related New Testament Scripture
Matthew 12: King James Bible
35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
1 Thessalonians 2: King James Bible
4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. 5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness: 6 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.
2 Corinthians 4: King James Bible
4 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
Thank you for your Word and for you lessons in truth and righteousness. We are in a climate that promotes lies over truth, making it much easier for us to flatter others rather than tell them the truth about certain things. Strengthen us Lord, and grant us the wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, to be truthful and effective, positively impacting those around us in every circumstance regardless of its level of importance. Help us to refrain from acting as an enemy would, and use flattery over truth. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we pray.
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to use flattering words over the truth?