Everyone loves a compliment or a good pat on the back but what if that compliment is just flattery?
Flattery is defined as:
Excessive or insincere praise.
You know I had to turn to God’s Word to learn what He has to say about it. And I found that Jesus’ half-brother Jude wrote:
These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.Jude 1:16
And the Apostle Paul wrote:
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others.1 Thessalonians 5:11 and Philippians 2:3–4
As followers of Jesus, we are urged to replace flattery with kind and humble encouragement.
I want that! I want to be an encourager, who is kind and humble. So, I came up with a list of questions to help me identify the difference between encouragement and flattery.
8 Questions to Help You Identify Flattery in Your Life
- Am I nicer to people when I want something from them?
- Am I kind and encouraging to people I may never meet again . . . including strangers, servers, salespeople, etc.?
- Am I more attentive to people who are able to do things for me than those who aren’t?
- Do I look to see how many fans or followers someone has on social media before I leave a comment?
- Do I encourage my children to choose their friends from the attractive or more popular kids at school?
- Do I talk to people the same way I talk about them – my neighbor, boss, coworker, etc.?
- Am I consistent with encouragement or does it depend on my mood?
- Am I kind and humble?
I’m not going to tell you my answers, and you don’t have to tell me yours.
God knows our weaknesses and our struggles. Jesus interacted with many who struggled with pride and manipulated others through flattery and He showed them how they could become kind and humble encouragers.
Paul summed up God’s will for our relationships and interactions, like this:
Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.Colossians 3:12–14
So, let’s take our pride and flattery to God in repentance and ask Him to replace our weakness with all that He wants for us.
A Prayer to Replace Flattery with
Kind and Humble Encouragement
Father, I want to love like Jesus. I want to love the way You want me to love. I want to be tenderhearted, merciful, kind, humble, gentle, and patient. I want to be an encourager. And yet, I know I fail so often. I can let my ego get in the way of love. I can let my mood get in the way of mercy, kindness, and patience. I am so sorry. Please forgive me.
Please open my eyes and help me see everyone I meet as someone who is dearly loved and precious to You. Help me remember that everyone has a struggle most of us know nothing about. And give me a heart of encouragement.
Father, You encourage me each day with Your grace, mercy, and love. You give me hope and strength. You bless me with Your presence and give me everything I need to love people the way You want me to. I give myself to You. Please work in me and use me in ways that encourage others with Your love. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
If you’re looking for another reason to avoid flattery, remember . . .
Flattery is just sugar-coated insincere manipulation!
And I’d love to share with you one of my favorite encouragement tips…
If you think something positive (and there’s always something positive) say it!
I love giving random encouragement to strangers. I’ll tell someone I like their hair or that they’re wearing a fabulous jacket. I’ll compliment their smile or tell them they have great style.
It’s always a blessing to brighten someone’s day whether we know them or not. Although, I have to believe that being kind, humble, and encouraging toward the people we know and love is one of the best blessings of all.
May the Lord surround you with people who bless and encourage you with His love.
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