<<smooth talk>>

Flattery involves excessive or insincere compliments and is often used as a cover-up for perceived weakness of one’s real intentions – particularly to win favour, gain an advancement or in the hope that the giver will also receive back an exaggerated compliment. Flattery is a trap that brings ruin as, “A

What is the motive behind it?

man is tested by the praise he receives” (Prov 26:28, 27:21, 29:5). “He who rebukes will gain more favour than by flattery” (Prov 28:23). Constructive criticism or analysis shows where improvements can be made.

Flattery often leads to pride which brings destruction while humility results in honour – thus the instruction not to think more highly of oneself than is warranted (Prov 18:12; Rom 12:3). Have a healthy self-esteem, while being realistic about your ability and achievements, besides giving honour and genuine praise to others where due to encourage them (Rom 13:7). 

Our speech should be honest and sincere without trying to manipulate or praise others beyond the truth for personal gain. We should always speak the truth in love even sharing the potentially hurtful things that needs to be said for the benefit of the hearer, not ourselves (Eph 4:15). Compliments are sincere acknowledgments of admiration spoken to praise someone else, whereas flattery benefits the flatterer. Can it be said of us, “we never used flattery or put on a mask” because we were not looking for man’s praise (1 Thes 2:5)? The Bible warns of those who use smooth talk and flattery as through this they deceive people and introduce heresies (Rom 16:18).

See also: criticism, encouragement, motive/motivation, praise, speech.