Ah flattery! Flattery is broadly defined as excessive insincere praise in order to push forward one’s own interests. There are two negative points to this concept: insincere usually means lying, and one’s own interests shows selfishness. Flattery is not favorable in God’s eyes. Jesus says we should let our yes be yes and our no be no. What He is saying here is we should let our intentions be known outright rather that masking them through insincere compliments. To compliment someone is not bad but when there is a personal agenda that is not being known by the recipient of the compliment, that is when its insincere, or, dishonest. So, the psalmist says,
“1 Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases to be. For the faithful disappear from among the sons of man. 2 They speak falsehood to one another. With flattering lips and with a double heart they speak. 3 May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that speaks great things. 4 Who have said, ‘With our tongue we will prevail. Our lips are our own, who is lord over us?”
You see, flattery is a good sign of not being faithful to God. In verse one, the term “the faithful” is speaking of those who believe in God and have chosen to live for Him. Jesus makes it clear throughout the Gospels that many will start out strong but will not remain and gives many reasons for their defection. In these four verses here there are three ungodly characteristics that “the faithful” do not live out: lying lips (falsehood), selfishness (flattering lips), and a double heart.
Lying lips and selfishness should be easy to detect if you believe in Jesus and spend some time in the Bible and spend time in church and prayer. But a double heart is not always understood by many. It can be summed up this way: If you are not fully committed to doing God’s work while your here on earth, but you do claim to believe in Jesus, go to church, pray, and read your bible, you have a heart that has two agendas, hence, a double heart. Jesus expects such a strong commitment from those who claim Him as their Lord. There is a war being waged on a daily basis, minute to minute basis even. Jesus needs people who are in a serious commitment to His work.
“The faithful” are so committed to Jesus agenda that lying lips and flattering lips have left them. They are so committed that they now have one agenda, one commitment in their life, one purpose. A double heart is not found in them. In fact, you can probably hear about “the faithful” through the unfaithful because the unfaithful know who are “the faithful.” They make their agenda known to all with grace and mercy. They may be hated for their views on many issues in life, but they are respected because everyone knows where they stand.
However, those who choose to live with lying lips and flattering lips cause destruction among society. Their destruction usually affects those who are afflicted. People who use flattery are not just selfish but usually also they are arrogant. Verse four makes it clear just how arrogant they become! They actually believe they can say whatever they want with no consequences to follow! They are blinded by their own arrogance. But there is a point where God will show up and have to move on behalf of those who are afflicted.
Bottom line is this: If you are a Christian and you are struggling with these ungodly characteristics, commit yourself to God’s purposes. Don’t just go to church on Sunday morning and Wednesday night! Commit yourself to His work and these characteristics will have no hold on you! And your double heart will become single. Jesus wants those with sole commitment to Him.
Become one of “the faithful” and be greatly blessed!