A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin. Proverbs 26:28
Angry and cutting words certainly raise communication barriers, but seemingly positive words can also cause problems if they are insincere. A discouraged wife commented, “He talks a good game. When he is trying to get on my good side, he makes all kinds of promises and whispers sweet nothings into my ear. But I know he really doesn’t care about me; he is simply not being sincere.”
Empty flattery, we call it. Words abound, but they mean little because the heart lies elsewhere. Proverbs castigates such insincerity: “A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.” How easily we slip into hollow words, flattering words, manipulative words which mask our selfish, scheming, and even vengeful hearts!
Paul describes the honest speech which God desires us to use: “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ” (Ephesians 4:15). As a result of our relationship to God in Christ, we speak from the heart. Sometimes we confront our loved one. Sometimes we register our concerns and problems. Sometimes we express our tender feelings. But always we speak the truth in love – honest, sincere, caring words. God speaks words of judgment against our sin, including empty flattery. He pulls no punches with us, because He loves us. But He also speaks His word of mercy, most clearly spoken in His Son Jesus Christ, the Word-made-flesh. On Calvary, Jesus by His death spoke the truth in love for us. Cleansed by His blood, we lay aside flattery and speak honestly and lovingly from the heart.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, purge my lips of empty flattery and strengthen me to speak the truth in love. Amen.
(Devotions from "My Daily Devotion" by Dr. Stephen J. Carter, copyright 1988 CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one time emailing of this link to a friend. For ordering information, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit www.cph.org.)