Do Not Keep Company With Flattering Brethren

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Rom 16:17-18).

School children all over the world have read Aesop’s Fable, “The Fox and the Crow.” Everyone who has read it can easily see that the crow is very foolish to believe the flattering words of the fox who had only one thing in mind, and that was the cheese the crow was about to eat.

Intellectually we can see the fallacy of believing flattery, but practically we are often tempted to fall for such. Someone may say, “My, how young you look!” Or they may say, “You are so smart; how did you think of that?” Young girls may believe the boy who is trying to woo her, when he tells her how beautiful she is and how much he loves her. Then after the “mistake” has been made, she is left a single mother to care for his child.

Roget’s Thesaurus gives a series of phrases related to the word flattery: lay the flattering unction to one’s soul, gild the pill, make things pleasant.

Denis Diderot once said, “We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little at a truth we find bitter.”

Job, our greatest example of patience, said, “Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man. For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away” (Job 32:21-22).

The Psalmist David prayed, “Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things” (Ps 12:1-3).

Let us teach our children early what kinds of things God hates, and let us engrain into their minds that flattery is one of those things. In the Proverbs, Solomon has given us a principle to work by: “He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue” (Pro 28:23). Why is this so? We know that any man or woman wanting to seek the Lord and his ways, wants to see themselves as they are so they can improve and grow (James 1:23-25).

Let us all do what we can to be honest with ourselves and others with whom we come in contact. Remember we have committed ourselves to be God’s people, and He should not be shamed by our words or our behavior. We should not keep company with flattering men, nor should we be simple to love their good words and fair speeches meant only to control us.

“A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet” (Pro 29:5).

Beth Johnson

The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The King James Version.

Published in The Old Paths Archive