Flattery or Genuine Praise?


Do you use flattery or genuine praise in your encouragement of others?   There is definitely a difference between the two forms of complimentary words.

What does the Bible have to say about the way in which we should use words to praise others? 

I love the book of Proverbs!  There are so many great little truth gems that have helped me throughout my life. 

When I began writing my devotional book, I mined several of those gems, including Proverbs 6:24, where Solomon warns his son about women who use flattery.

There is a lot that can be said on this topic, and hopefully I will touch on it again in the future, but for now, allow me to share with you the fourth chapter in my book, Daughters of Sarah.  I hope these meditations of mine might be a blessing and help to you, and possibly encourage you to search the Scriptures yourself to see how God might speak to your heart. 

Daughters of Sarah - Chapter 4

To keep thee from the evil woman,
from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.
- Proverbs 6:24

Solomon wrote the Proverbs as words of wisdom and counsel to his son. In this passage he was advising his son against the dangers of evil women.

There is much to be learned in the Scriptures from evil women. They are the best examples of what not to do. If we can learn from their poor behavior, it will keep us from becoming like them in God’s eyes.

The particular trait mentioned in this verse that characterizes an evil woman is a flattering tongue. Flattery is described in the dictionary as undue praise and insincere compliments. A woman of low character uses flattery to entice and manipulate others.

It is important to recognize the difference between legitimate encouragement and sincere praise as opposed to false adulation. Words are so important in our daily interactions with others. We can lift someone’s spirits with a genuine word of encouragement.

The heart of our husband and children can be blessed with a valid word of approval and support from us. We must be certain that the words that we say are true and justified in order to keep them from falling under the category of flattery.

It would be inappropriate to tell your husband that he is the best outdoor griller in the world when he just burned the steaks. As an alternative, you could tell him how much you appreciated his efforts and how much you enjoyed not having to cook dinner yourself.

Likewise, you would not want to tell your eight-year-old child that they were the smartest kid in their class when they bring home a failed spelling test just to make them feel better. Instead, you might want to assure them that you know they are capable of getting a good score and pledging to help them study.

Flattery only leads to ruin because it gives a false sense of confidence and is empty in meaning; whereas, genuine praise builds character and self-discipline.

Another point about flattery is that it often admires that which we have no control over. For example, flattery says, “You are so good looking,” while godly praise says, “You are so well behaved.”

Finally, as godly women, married or single, we must be especially careful that we do not use flattering words in our conversations with men. Men can be very susceptible to false praise. More than once Solomon warned his son about being swayed by this type of behavior.

Let us not be guilty of using this tactic to tempt the men around us to be drawn into a lustful attitude toward us. We can be just as guilty of becoming a strange woman without becoming a prostitute.

Before we speak words of commendation, let us consider if what we are about to say is true and if it is deserved. Our words can build up or tear down based on their veracity.

My Prayer


Help me to be mindful of my speech that I may give true praise when it is due. Guard my lips from speaking flattering words that may harm someone and lead them away from You. Please help me to lift up those around me with genuine encouragement.

Love, Angie

Read some more from Daughters of Sarah...

New! Comments

Do you have something to add or just want to say hello? Leave me a comment in the box below.