Proverbs 26:28 A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.
Biblical terminology is very important. For example, ignorance of Bible vocabulary has led people to believe that flattery is considerate if it makes others feel good. Yet, the picture presented by scripture is contrary to this line of thinking. Flattery harms both the giver and the recipient. According to scripture, “A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin” (Proverbs 26:28). While we have been led to believe flattery edifies, in reality, it destroys. This truth is confirmed in Proverbs 29:5 where the Bible says, “A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.” Even the flatterer is harmed by his flattery: “He that speaketh flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children shall fail” (Job 17:5). Without a doubt, flattery harms all those involved.
- (For children): The presidents and princes in Daniel’s day directed flattering words to king Darius that convinced him to sign a law that couldn’t be changed (Daniel 6:3-9). This flattery hurt the king when he had to have Daniel cast into a den of lions. Fortunately, God saved Daniel, and the evil men were cast to the lions.
- (For everyone): What are some ways in which a person could be harmed by being flattered? How could flattery set that person up for pride and false confidence?
- How does flattery work to destroy when it appears to build a person up? What are some examples of how this works?
- Ask the Lord to show you how harmful flattery can be.
- Ask God to protect you from both sides of flattery.