The sins that folks really don’t like hearing about (besides most of them) is flattery or other language sins. We like to think that words don’t actually matter or that misusing them doesn’t rise to the status of other, real sins.
Right now, I’m reading Proverbs and that completely overturns that idea. Psalm 12 does as well. In verses 2-4, the wicked are defined as those who flatter and lie, while in verse 5 we are told the Lord will act because the poor are being oppressed. How can we make that move?
Flattery always implies an agreeableness to power – a willingness to bend the truth to please someone in authority. If this is the case, then we shouldn’t be surprised that a flatterer would misuse their authority to oppress.
More than that, though, sins are never solo. Things grow together, and habits in language show someone’s character. Like the parable says, faithfulness in small things leads to faithfulness in big things.
Two takeaways: First, trust that how someone talks reflects who they are. Second, watch how you talk. Don’t avoid the awkward self-reflection, like I usually do, of examining words as well as deeds. Like this Psalm shows, flattery matters.