Flattery is intended to swell the head and disarm the unsuspecting.
Because most humans would prefer ruination by flattery over salvation by criticism, great swelling words of emptiness are quite potent, especially when employed by an immoral seductress (Proverbs 2:16; 7:5, 21) or an ungodly change agent (2 Peter 2:18; Jude 16).
The unvarnished truth about flattery unmasks its hypocrisy and (hopefully) diminishes its seductive powers.
- Flattery is not a characteristic of faithful, godly preachers like the apostle Paul (1 Thessalonians 2:5).
- A flattering mouth works ruin (Proverbs 26:28).
- Flattery is an attribute of those whose mouths are faithless (i.e. unrighteous) (Psalm 5:9).
- Flattery is a form of lying/talebearing (Proverbs 20:19).
- Self-flattery is a common trait of the wicked who foolishly has no fear of God in his heart (Psalm 36:1-2).
God’s wise advice is simple: “Do not associate with one who flatters with his lips” (Proverbs 20:19).