Flattery is Cruel

Think about it.


Flattery– To compliment too much or praise insincerely, especially in order to win favor. Excessive or insincere praise.


You approach someone and begin complimenting them. All is fine and good, they think you’re sweet, and they’re inclined to believe you. You continue and the line crosses from complimenting to flattery. They still believe you. Is that a problem?

Yes, very much so. You are telling someone things that may or may not be good about them are excellent, amazing, etc. What would that kind of talk do to your head?

Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.

1 Corinthians 8:1

In essence, you are stoking that person’s ego. Biblically, for them, that leads to one conclusion:

A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.

Proverbs 29:23

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 16:18

They are brought low in God’s eyes to place from which they must repent. You have caused them to stumble. Do you want to be a stumbling block to them?

Be loving; don’t flatter.

“… but love edifies.”

Edifies. That is a strange word. Generally, people interpret it as “encouragement” or “praise,” but that can lead us right back to our issue of flattery!


Edify– To instruct so as to encourage intellectual, moral, or spiritual improvement.


So it is encouragement, but to improvement, not to lead someone to think they’re wonderful or to think something of you. The Bible tells us that no one is good but God and that we’ve all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.

The Bible also says to love your neighbor as yourself, and that 1 Corinthians verse also talks about love. What is this love? It is the same kind of love that God has for us and that we are to have toward Christ. This love is described in 1 Corinthians 13.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8a

Take a look at the flip side; you flatter someone and they don’t believe you. Soon, you have a reputation, with them at least, for not meaning what you say. That means they don’t trust you, and you have to build up a dependable measure of honesty and integrity from that.

But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

Matthew 5:37

Not a good place to be as a child of God.

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