A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it, And a flattering mouth works ruin. – Proverbs 26v28
Flattery is a word that we would not necessarily put on the list of 'major sins.' Yet, when the Bile speak of flattery, or flattering, or flattering lips it is always in a negative sense. Flattering lips are paired with a 'double heart.' We read of flattering lips being 'cut off'' False teachers use flattering speech to deceive.
Flattery, I think, is more that just going over the top with praise. It seems that flattery is based out of a heart that is seeking something for itself. Flattery makes people feel good for a moment, but there is more to it than it seems. Flattery is actually another form of lying. It is deceitful and damaging and destructive.
Edmund Burke wrote 'Flattery corrupts both the receiver and the giver.' Someone else wrote 'Gossip is what you say about the objects of flattery when they are not around.' Hank Ketchem, the cartoonist who gave us Dennis the Menace, put it in words we all understand – 'Flattery in like chewing gum. Enjoy it, but don't swallow it.
As believers our words are to be above reproach. Lets be sure that our praise for others is sincere and offered from a sincere heart. Lets not say anything that is going to cause harm, even if it sounds good at the moment.