Fairview Baptist Tabernacle
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Staying Connected
March 6 – March 12
Scripture Passage: “He that speaks flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children shall fail.”   Job 17:5
Dear Friends,
     “Flattery will get you everywhere,” was a phrase coined by actress and comedian Mae West. Flattery that is insincere is nothing but a lie masked as a compliment and leads to deception and guile. Another quote I have heard all my life is, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Only a liar says that it doesn’t feel good to have flattering things said about them, and only a fool takes all those things to heart.  As a dad, it was always comical to watch my children, imitate the way I walked and say some of the things I was known to say. (That was not always a good thing.) As they matured they took on a personality of their own and some of the things I did and said became foolishness to them. Now, many years later, I see some of that imitation coming back again. The question that is burning in my mind and heart today is have I lived a life before them that is worth imitating? Is there anything about my children that when someone sees or watches them they would say, “You are just like your daddy?”  If that were to be said, would my children take that as a compliment, or would that be a black mark upon their own personal character? Who we are, and the reputation we carry is important, but the true evaluation of our character is what God knows about us. That is the difference between reputation and integrity.  I guarantee you that my children know the “real” me and can distinguish between the flattering words that are said and the level of my integrity. My integrity is what takes place when no one else is looking and is too important to be sacrificed on the altar of public popularity. 
     In cross referencing this verse of Scripture from the Kings James Version with the English Standard Version I found an interesting variation of reading. “He who informs against his friends to get a share of their property- the eyes of his children will fail.” ESV   “Those who betray their own friends leave a legacy of abuse to their children.” THE MESSAGE     I do not believe this is a contradiction of interpretation of the Scripture. John MacArthur says that the Hebrew word that translates into the English word flattery came to mean “prey.” So Job was referring to someone who delivers up a friend as prey to some enemy. Insincere flattery, or even flattery that is genuine, can often be the source of pride that leads to a downfall. Often the person extending the words of flattery have an ulterior motive and are just setting the person up to take advantage of them later. When you take the word flattery in these contexts you can see how all translations make perfect sense.  When I was a high school band director it was said that if I said something was good and paid them a compliment then it was REALLY good.   Maybe I should have spent more time bragging on them and complimenting their efforts. I might have had more stick with me if I had. The difference was the quality of the product. I think the lesson I learned from all that was that you do not have to use flattery or insincere compliments to show your appreciation. Everyone wants to feel appreciated and have their efforts recognized. To say nothing is as bad, maybe even worse, than flattery. The key to building strong relationships is to be honest in our dealings and sincere in our words of affirmation. We also need to be caring and compassionate when we use words of criticism. Our words have the power to encourage or destroy. Choose them wisely. 
In Christ,
Pastor Johnny