The people pleaser uses flattery to gain an advantage. When he does, we are often tempted to give in because we like what we hear. Flattery comes from the Hebrew word for smooth. Designed to snag its target, flattery is a smooth way to capture the heart and life of another person (Proverbs 29:5). Flattery is differentiated from a compliment, not merely by whether it is true, but by whose interest is at heart. Paul taught: “For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery, they deceive the minds of naïve people” (Romans 16:18). The people pleaser uses flattery for his advantage (Jude 1:16). We give in to flattery by believing what we hear, foolishly surrendering our heart to the people pleaser, and acting on the deceitful compliment.
Solomon commanded, “Don’t give in to flattery.” This is a shrewd practice to reflect the heart of the people pleaser: “A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit. Though his speech is charming, do not believe him, for seven abominations fill his heart” (Proverbs 26:24-25). When we don’t give in to his net, we won’t be tripped up and snagged. The people pleaser will realize that we have not fallen prey to his deceptive tactics, and he will begin to wrestle with his own heart that desires significance apart from Christ. Solomon described the flatterer’s disingenuous intent and the painful result: “A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin” (Proverbs 26:28).
Connect with the heart of the people pleaser by recognizing his desire for significance apart from Christ and don’t gossip. Deflect his difficult behavior and don’t be gullible to his exaggerations. Reflect his heart and don’t give in to flattery. Simply smile and say, “You sound really convincing, but I need some time to pray about it.”