The Flaw Of Flattery

An old English fable contains a truth well worth repeating. 

A crow swooped low over the lunch of a peasant and stole a piece of cheese. A wise fox, watching the crow with jealousy, wanted the cheese for himself. 

“O Crow,” he said in his most flattering voice, “how beautiful are your wings. How brightly shine your searching eyes. How graceful is your strong, flexible neck. Your chest is the chest of a soaring eagle. Your talons are no match for all the beasts of the field. O that such a bird would lack only a voice.” 

The crow was thrilled and excited over the flattery. Chuckling to herself, she decided to surprise the fox with her voice. When she opened her mouth, the cheese fell to the ground, and the fox snapped it up and walked away. 

A wise man once said, “Flattery is a trap; evil men are caught in it. But the good men stay away and sing for joy.” 

Flattery is different from encouragement. We give “courage” to those who are struggling with life’s problems when we recognize their efforts. We give hope to one who has fallen when we offer a hand to pick them up. We give peace when we smile at one with sadness in their eyes. 

Flattery is different. It praises someone for something that is not true or honest because we want to make them feel good about mediocrity - even failure. In the end, it destroys the one we want to help. The Psalmist said, “May the Lord cut off all flattering lips.” 

False praise, though well-intended, is destructive and deceitful. 

Prayer:  Lord, may we offer hope to the struggling, help to the weak, encouraging words to the faltering, and recognition to those who do good things! In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Scripture For Today: May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, And the tongue that speaks proud things, Psalm 12:3 

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