Resist any more bootlicking!
Acts 24:2 “When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation.”
- Flattery takes small elements of truth but ignores the serious failings. (History writers talk of the rebel groups that Felix silenced but also the many divisions that he caused)
- Flattery panders to the need to be liked. (“We … you”, Tertullus was saying ‘we like you’)
- Flattery is for the purpose of gaining some benefit. (Tertullus begins his prosecution with flattery because he wants Paul dead)
- Flattery magnifies the person beyond recognition, to the point of it no longer being an exaggerated praise, it is a blatant lie. (Felix did not reform the nation)
- Flattery cannot be spotted by simply listening to what is being said, it has to be seen in the context of the situation. (The context is Paul standing there and the “…case…”)
The truth is probably that we have all been flattered at some point in our lives and enjoyed it and we have all used flattery.
Flattery is a sin and we need to distance ourselves from it.
I am sure we never use flattery in order to bring down some other person as Tertullus tried regarding Paul. But our reason could be important need and we may even feel godly need. Flattery is not far from us especially in the age of social media and promotion. We need wisdom.
Pastors need people.
People need to be needed.
Churches need ministries.
Ministries (and mission departments/agencies) need money.
We are never far away from the line of flattery.
Paul was able to say of his leadership team, “We never used flattery”, let us all be able to say this. (1 Thessalonians 2:5)
Maybe these 3 simple questions will help:
- Is this true?
- Is this self-praise?
- What do I gain?
So why have I titled this blog the way I have?
Well that is because of the verse in Job 32:22 “for if I were skilled in flattery, my Maker would soon take me away.” But I love how it is wonderfully worded by the Message:
“Do you three have nothing else to say? Of course you don’t! You’re total frauds! Why should I wait any longer, now that you’re stopped dead in your tracks? I’m ready to speak my piece. That’s right! It’s my turn—and it’s about time! I’ve got a lot to say, and I’m bursting to say it. The pressure has built up, like lava beneath the earth. I’m a volcano ready to blow. I have to speak—I have no choice. I have to say what’s on my heart, And I’m going to say it straight— the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I was never any good at bootlicking; my Maker would make short work of me if I started in now!”
Say it straight, stop licking boots!