If you had a choice to be flattered or honestly criticized, which would you opt for? Proverbs 28:23 says, “In the end people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery.” I served as pastor of Enon Baptist Church for ten years (1994-2004). Preparing three sermons a week meant lots of study. Of the thousands of illustrations I read, this one made the top five. “Flattery is like perfume, smell it and your ok, drink it and it will kill you.”
Flattery grows in shallow soil. Honest criticism is rooted deeply. Flattery unmasked could be likened to blooming weeds, honest criticism to an oak tree. Isaiah 61 proclaims good news (Jesus) regarding the oppression of the inner person. The latter part of verse 3 says, “Rename them oaks of righteousness, planted by God to display His Glory.” Those in your circle of influence don’t need your flattery. Sometimes, they need your honest criticism. But only after you have put in the good work (time) of building a relationship with them!
LORD, as You lead us to speak truth to others, may our words be permeated with wisdom that You have written on our hearts. Only then, will the honest criticism be basked with Your Mercy and Grace. In Your Holy Name, Amen