Wednesday, April 4, 2007
For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness:
- Paul the Apostle
(1 Thessalonians 2:5)
Flattery DISHONORS God. What you say when you flatter someone is, "Hey, I don't really believe in Jesus Christ who says that only God is truly good (Mark 10:18), but you're sure super! Let me tell you how good you are!"
"Really? Me? You really care about me?"
"...Well, no, I don't really care about you, but if I tell you some flattering words, maybe in turn you'll flatter me, and we can break the commandment to love each other while all the while we can call ourselves Christians! PLUS I might get something else out of it in return to consume upon my own lusts! Who cares about believing the truth of the Son of God who died on the cross to take away our sins? I mean, yeah, he did say that whosoever loves Him will keep His commandments, but that's legalism, right? Whatever! Yeah! Get me a Christian T-shirt to rock-out NOW!"
Have we really become so pathetically distant from any kind of reality in God that we have resorted to flattery as a means of "sharing" our lives with each other? The reason I use "sharing" in quotations is because flattering is anything but an unselfish giving of oneself. Flattery is a deliberate plea a person uses to seek their own in any given situation, and as you know if you not only read but actually believe the truth found in the Bible, "Charity... seeketh not her own." (1 Cor. 13)
I have flattered. I have also sinned against God, but the truth is that Jesus Christ never did the same. He never sinned against God in thought nor deed, which means he never flattered anyone either. How could he? It is impossible for God to lie. (Heb. 6:18) He will not bear a false witness and call a dirty, stinking, self-confident, prideful, abhorent, arrogant, ignorant wretch something they are not because He truly loves. A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin. (Proverbs 26:28)
Go back and think about the last time you flattered someone. Sadly, the majority of the people that read this post will not have to look behind today. When you did it, when you do it, are you really looking for the person's best interest? Are you caring about their soul? Are you loving your neighbor as yourself or are you more concerned about the fact that if you refrain from flattery, you may not know who you're going to eat lunch with tomorrow?
People use flattery as a means to seek a girlfriend or boyfriend and after a while, they will wonder why there is no love in their relationship. If you were not ignorant in your lusts (1 Pet. 1:14), you would realize that it is because your entire motive is fighting against God's commandments.
You go through the rest of your life, marry the person that you've made an object of your affection and have "won" over by means of flattery or have been "won" over by means of flattery, and the entire time, the one that flatters tells the other they love them. First off, the flatterer is a liar. Second off, if the person that is the object of the flattery falls for such a pathetic display of fleshy affection, it is pretty safe to say they are living by sight and not by faith. (2 Corinthians 5:7) Do you want to live the rest of your life, even the rest of tonight living for a lie? Do you want to be deceived willingly now that you know the truth? Will you, an unbelieving wretch, tell a woman you love her while flattering her in the same breath? Will you, a pathetic infidel, tell the "man of her dreams" in vain how you love him? They will, but ...Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. (Psalms 78:36)
What does God say to do in regards to this? There are certain things. The first is if you are the one flattering... REPENT! This term was used much in earlier times, but the meaning is still the same today because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and for ever (Heb. 13:8) regardless of what the "football throwin', Famous People Quotin' " "evangelism" of the hour neglects to preach. It means to turn away from this sin, and YES it is sin. All unrighteousness is sin (1 John 5:17) and seeking your own is not righteous. This reminds me of something that Leonard Ravenhill has said. He talks about how there is an emphasis on the "7 deadly sins", but this is a lie... ALL sin is deadly. It dishonors the Lord Jesus Christ who is come in the flesh and never flattered anyone. This truth is something to ponder, but as well, all truth is in need of pondering. Another thing that must be done is for the person being flattered to keep from the evil person:
For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman. Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.
Here is referenced a woman, but the same applies to the men.
I have flattered people, but I have also been pathetically lost in a sea of disillusionment and discontent somewhat due to the fact that what I deemed Christianity to be at a time incorporates flattery as a means of business, but primarily because I have been seeking my own in certain situations, seeking my own advantange, dishonoring God, not loving my neighbor, not loving my enemies, loving my self, my pride, my ego, and my own agenda, and denying Jesus Christ's sacrifice. God rebuked me. God is rebuking me. He does not flatter me. He's disciplined and has chastened me (and is continuing to do so) about my faithlessness. Why? Because God is love. I would rather be disciplined harshly from love than wooed away gently by selfishness, but only after aid from the Holy Spirit could I have this desire.
There was a time when I fished for compliments. I fished for flattery. Why? Because I've been pathetic - plain and simple. The root of the vain desire stems from faithlessness and unbelief in Jesus Christ risen from the dead. The same goes for those who still flatter. Rebuke is wonderful when it comes from love. I believe that true rebuke can come from nothing else.
Take a few moments now to truly think about flattery and the use of it. Do you love the person you flatter or do you seek your own? If you are truly honest and dig to the root of the matter, you will realize that when you flatter someone, seeking something to consume upon your own lusts is the motivation of it. While you finish reading this, take the time to understand these two points:
He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.
Open rebuke is better than secret love.
May we all come back to the reality of the love that is only found in the truth of Jesus Christ who is come in the flesh and leave the devilish, demon possessed tounges and lips of flattery behind.