A Sharp Tongue-The Danger of Flattery

sharp tongue

James 3:9,10

Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

Read all of James Chapter 3 here

One writer I read commenting on the Book of James said the following: “If gossip is saying behind someone’s back what you would never say to their face, then flattery is saying to someone’s face what you would never say behind their back.”

What is flattery? Well flattery and compliments are not the same; that is why the saying above rings so very true. A compliment is good for the person being complimented, whereas flattery is primarily for the benefit of the person giving the praise. And that, in a nutshell, is why God has a problem with flattery.

Like almost anything having to do with our tongue, we can find much guidance on the subject of flattery in the Book of Proverbs.

Proverbs 6:24; 7:5; and 7:21 all teach us that a flattering woman can lead us into trouble.

Flattery is put in the same league as lying and deception in Psalm 5:9 and Romans 16:18.

As we have been discussing, James is trying to teach us how to live the Christian life; he is attempting to teach us how our salvation will always result in some fruit, or action as a result. What’s that got to do with what James is teaching? Well everything, really. Because just as hard as James is trying to teach us how to do right, there are a host of people trying to teach us wrong. These would be false teachers, and flattery is one of their primary weapons in their arsenal.

Paul warns clearly of this danger in Romans 16:18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

Peter likewise warns of this in 2 Peter 2:3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

Here’s a question just for bloggers. Ever like, comment or follow just in the hopes of getting one yourself? A little encouragement in there just to make it look good? Of course we have to engage others to build a network of readers, but where is the line? I would really like people’s thoughts on that one.



Categories: Christianity, Contributors

18 replies

  1. Good post! As to your question, I don’t remember having commented or followed just to receive the same in return. Growing readership shouldn’t be on the goal radar. I tend to offer compliments when I think they are clearly deserved and ask questions or suggest various things when something puzzles or confuses me. The latter sometimes gets me into trouble with readers. It seems that compliments and flattery are desired and appreciated but thoughtful comments/questions are not. One reason I offer more than just compliments is that some take mere compliments as blanket acceptance of everything they say. And when they never seem to be able to use an “I think” type of statement but just tell us what IS, I do get upset, especially when I know what I am being old IS, really isn’t.

    Thanks for wanting our thoughts and opinions! again, good post with a great quote at the front end!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Dan, thanks for coming by. I wish I could remember where I got that quote, because I really liked it myself. I personally have no problem with questions, and even disagreement. I am a big boy LOL. If I feel am right, I can defend my position, or heck maybe even find out I am mistaken. Sometimes a person does have to draw a line with a debater, as some like to take another person’s blog and make it their own personal forum for their view. None of us are obligated to do that ever. I personally tend to be overly direct sometimes when I deal with people and have gotten into trouble and hurt people’s feelings over it. I don’t always say enough words to convey what I mean, and I come over as being terse and impatient. Some of my blogging friend have pointed this out to me and I am working on that, with the assistance of friends and the Holy Spirit.

      It’s touchy sometimes when you see something you just can’t abide with, I know. I tend to not raise too much of a ruckus on another person’s blog, but if they want to come over and chat that’s cool. Kind of like I would not go to another church and be too vocal about disagreement, but certainly would not let somebody come to mine and teach stuff I fell to be wrong. I guess what I mean is that I understand your dilemma completely!

      Thanks Dan!


  2. No I don’t. I try to read every person I follow posts. Sometimes it is overwhelming but if I don’t have time to read it, you won’t get a like or comment from me. Can’t like something I didn’t read.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think we can say that we don’t but sometimes subconsciously we do things like that. It’s something we all have to work on. Writing for God and not for ourselves or for the likes. We want to know people are reading what we write. Sometimes I think it would be better for us believers to take the “like” button off, but I don’t think that’s possible. We always have to be wary and aware of our own inclination to flatter ourselves or to do things to garner attention. Funny, my post today was along these same lines of thinking.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t made it that far and read yours yet, but am working my way to it! Yep, all about God and not us for sure. But, as you said, we do like to know people are reading. I don’t think being concerned about readership is wrong in and of itself. After all, we are here to tell people about Jesus, and to do that we need them to read. But, when we get full of ourselves because a pile of people read us that day…that’s a problem.

    Thanks Mary


  5. To be honest, I don’t know why I don’t get hate mail. I tend to be honestly blunt with my thoughts, but in a loving and kind manner…sometimes. No, you got a like from me because I liked what you wrote, and because I don’t need a dictionary and thesaurus to try and figure out what you are trying to convey.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nice Patrick. Thank you. I don’t usually get hate mail either. It seems those who want to hate prefer to do it publicly LOL. Thanks for the encouragement also. That’s the big thing I love about blogging, is the community and encouragement.


  6. Good post. I think for myself with your question, I think it’s important to ask from time to time whether I’m willing to write on things that is not popular with our culture. But it’s not enough to leave it there, as I’ve been amazed at times when something I wrote on something very controversial ends up being really well received among the readers and other Christians. I think its important to ask if we are willing to write on something that sometimes those who read will disagree with. Not that we should write to be disagreeable, but to be edifying and must be done with love. I see your posts have implications for ministry as well.


    • Thanks Brother Jim

      It’s tough to decide sometimes. I sometimes write specifically to something a person has questioned or wanted to debate about. That seems easier and often answers questions more completely than arguing. An example that comes to mind is a fellow had issues with what I believed on the Doctrine of Eternal security. Obviously, I believe The Bible teaches that, he did not. So rather than fight about it, I wrote a post and invited him to read. He still didn’t get on board with it, but it avoided a fight and left our channel of communication open for future discussion.

      Liked by 1 person

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