Monday, October 8, 2012

Proverbs 26:28 Pats on the back

28 A lying tongue hates those it hurts,
    and a flattering mouth works ruin.

You know how some verses are so packed with truth that they are like little packages of dynamite? Yup, this is one of 'em!

In this short proverb, we have two different kinds of lies, and some details about each one. First, a "lying tongue" . . . that's the out-in-the-open kind of lying. The kind that you get when the person isn't worried about covering up the falsehood that they are distributing. Some people call this slander. And Solomon is correct -- the usual motivation for this kind of lying is hatred of the other person.

The liar can be hating on us because they are jealous of something we have . . . anything from a spiritual gift to a material blessing. They could be spiteful because of a real or imagined slight from us. They could just be hating us because they don't like the fact that we are Christians, and that we are not ashamed to admit it.
Whatever the reason, they lie about us because they hope to hurt us.

The second kind of liar is one who flatters us and gushes overly complimentary things about us; we've looked at this kind of conversation before. This liar could be motivated by trying to "set us up" to take a fall. They may hope to get us all puffed up with pride, so that then we'll make mistakes and ruin our Christian testimony. They may be hoping to accomplish something or get something from us -- and they hope to accomplish this with deceit and flattery.

It's one thing to give someone a "pat-on-the-back" compliment, and show our approval of something they have accomplished. I think we all know that flattery, the kind that works ruin, is something different. If we are too interested in hearing good things about ourselves, we leave ourselves open for this kind of cheating and lying to ruin us. If we are content to know that we are doing the right things in our lives, and that our Father sees our accomplishments and is pleased, then we are safe from the flatterer's smooth words.

And of course, for Christians, there should be no room in our conversations with others for lies. We shouldn't magnify the truth, or whitewash it, either. We should avoid twisting it around in our presentation, to suit our agenda.
Ephesians 4:25 tells us:  
"Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body."
We can go ahead and enjoy that pat on the back we've received, but we shouldn't be so anxious to get another one, that we fall prey to the flatterers.  And let's make certain that we just speak the truth, in graciousness and kindness.

1 comment:

Belinda said...

All of a sudden I'm wondering how many times someone has patted me on the back and said "good job" when they really didn't think so and were just trying to be nice. :/ It's hard to be honest sometimes when you don't want to hurt someone's feelings. Guess we really have to be careful don't we?! Hmmmmm.....