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Author Topic: Flattery  (Read 3802 times)
« on: April 13, 2003, 08:02:19 AM »

There are a few things that will keep a person  from being really effective in thier ministering to God and His people. One of them is unconfessed sin. Another is operating out of ones own desire to lead and not a call from God. Having an agenda contrary to the plan of the Holy Spirit is a hindrance. Selfish ambition will put the brakes on the strongest of calls to ministry, but none is more calculated or destructive than believing flattery. Nothing will take the legs out from under a strong man faster than him striving to live up to the image flattery has spoken about him.

All of us know what flattery sounds like and how it is used, but there are subtle ways it finds a hold on ones life that can destroy much. To show how dangerous it truly is lets look at  what flattery means.

Kolakeria (Greek)
There is a difference between encouragement and flattery. The Greek definition of flattery means "motives of self-interest". If someone uses flattery on you, they want something. On the other hand, when someone says they like the way you play the piano or guitar they are trying to say, "your dedication to learning to play an instrument is becoming evident." That is encouragement. That kind of encouragement will cause someone to continue the pursuit of their craft, free from the strife that comes from trying to live up to the overstatements.

The encyclopedia's definition of encouragement, means, "to inspire with hope, courage or confidence." The Greek word for encouragement is "parakaleo" which means, "to call near, or invoke and comfort someone." The Bible instructs us to encourage one another (Heb. 10:25), but it warns us about flattery (Rom.16:18). When someone is struggling through a trial, we are to encourage them with hope, but there is a tendency for many of us to not want to see anyone suffering, and our encouragement can step over the line and into flattery. That is one of the ways our flattery has the mark of control and manipulation in it.

In a way, Peter, the disciple of Jesus, was trying to control the Lord by saying he didn't want Him to go to Jerusalem and suffer (Matt.16:22). In these scriptures Peter uses the word "rebuke" when speaking to Jesus. That word means "to forbid", but it also means, "show honor, to raise the price of, to admonish". Peter was trying to tell Jesus that there was a higher value for Him to stay with His disciples, than to fulfill the purposes of God by dying. I'm sure Peter was hurting inside at the thought of his friend dying, so he was willing to use any ploy to stop the pain. Peter was using manipulative flattery with the hope of controlling the mind of the Savior of the world. Jesus dealt with that spirit the only way that is effective. He commanded Satan to get behind Him.


Pathah (Hebrew)
The Hebrew explains the word flattery pretty much the same as Greek but with a few more colorful illustrations. It's a primitive root; "usually figuratively (in a mental or moral sense) to be (causatively, make) simple or (in a sinister way) delude: allure, deceive, enlarge, entice, persuade."

The intent of flattery is to make a person simple, or just delude and deceive them. To make someone simple is an attempt to strip them of their astuteness and discernment. There is great power in flattery and freewheeling compliments. That power is just about always used to control or manipulate in some way.

Psalm 78:35 tells of Israel flattering the Lord with their mouths, and that was for the purpose of deluding, alluring or trying to make simple the King of kings: "And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer. Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant."

It's one thing to try to control another man or a leader using a flattering tongue, but it's quite another to try that trick on God Almighty. We all use words to control others on a very regular basis, and flattery is the worst of these weapons. But when it comes to Jehovah God, there can be no false pretense, or over-used platitudes that will bring God under our control.

God is not like man who thinks he's worthy of the compliments he's been getting. He is worthy of every word of praise or adoration that can be conceived of, but don't speak it because you believe He needs to hear it, speak it because you believe it's true.

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