A man who flatters his neighbor
spreads a net for his feet.
Be careful of flattery! Someone may be flattering you or you may be flattering someone else. To flatter someone is to commend others either for the good they do in life or for the goods they have. In reality, however, the praise you give others may not be as good as you say it is. The motive for flattery is very suspect.
Those who do flatter another “spreads a net for his feet.” Who does “his” refer to?
First, it can refer to the neightbor’s feet. There is a suspicious motive in what is said to the neighbor and the neighbor is “caught” in a net. Some ill design is intended, which unless the neighbor can read the intent, will probably feel very good about himself and be quickly drawn into the trap. Those who are flattered are often puffed up with pride and think more highly of themselves and will cause them to be very confident and self-assured.
Second, “his” may also refer to the one who is using flattery. He, too, is caught in the net. He that flatters others anticipates some return from his “compliments” but is really making himself looks like a fool if the truth of the matter is made known. Even those who are being flattered often “see through” these devices. He who flatters, then, cannot be trusted and is dishonest in his ways.
Jesus reminds us to be truthful and honest. Let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no.” To do otherwise, is to bring shame on ourselves and others. Watch out for flattery!
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By George McFarland. © 2020 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org