OceanSide church of Christ
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By: Dalton Gilreath
A widow asked a young man to guess her age. He thought for a moment and she quickly commented on his hesitation. His response was, “The trouble is that I hesitate whether to make it ten years younger on account of your looks, or ten years older on account of your intelligence”. At times, we might use flattery in an amusing or comical way. Most understand there is no intent to deceive or manipulate as it is simply in “good fun”. This type of flattery is certainly not ungodly. However, true flattery, deceiving or manipulating for personal gain, is contrary to God’s will.
We find an example of ungodly flattery when Jesus is confronted by the Herodians (Matthew 22:16-18). They wanted to manipulate Christ into making a statement that would show Him to be a blasphemer and a false teacher. Our Lord, of course, saw right through this and handled them appropriately. We further see flattery rebuked both in the Old Testament and the New. It was Solomon who wrote that flattery “worketh ruin” and not to “meddle” with those who use flattery (Prov 26:28, 20:19). In the New Testament Paul discusses how meticulously he avoided using flattery to deceive or manipulate souls to Christ (1 Thess 2:5). Front to back, the Bible has nothing good to say about flattering others for personal gain. Flattering others in innocent jest is one thing. But to purposefully boost someone’s ego with a personal motive is sinful.