«A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet» (Proverbs 29:5).
Louis XIV of France (1638-1715), also known as the «Sun King,» is one of the most prominent monarchs of French history, who managed to establish an absolutist and centralized regime and became a model of absolute monarchy in Europe. He is credited with one of the most representative phrases of autocracy: «I am the state.» Moreover, it is said that he was the most praised king in modern history. One day, he asked one of his servants: «What time is it?»
«Whatever time you please, Your Majesty,» replied the courtier.
The king smiled and forgot the matter. Later, the monarch was complaining because of the loss of his teeth. As soon as another of his courtiers learned of the matter, he said: «Teeth, you say, Your Majesty? Do teeth even exist?»
One day, Louis XIV attended religious services in the royal chapel, which was almost empty. When he looked upon the scene, he sent for the priest, Francois de Salignac de La Mothe, a French theologian, poet, and writer, to comment on the situation. The well-known prelate answered that he had not informed anyone about the time of the celebration of the services because he wanted to know who would come to the chapel to please God, and who come to please the king. In this way, the ruler could get an idea of the number of flatterers he had in his court.
Flattery is one of the greatest traps that many young men use when it comes to conquering a woman. Paradoxically, many women like that method! They confuse flattery with romance. But a person who flatters you doesn’t love you. They only want to manipulate and rule your life. And that has nothing to do with genuine love.
People who truly appreciate you do not fill your head with compliments, but rather, they speak plainly to you and tell you the truth, and sometimes that can hurt. It is true that it is much more pleasant to receive flattery, but never more productive. «There is nothing which will please the people better than to be praised and flattered when they are in darkness and wrong, and deserve reproof»—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, ch. 31, p. 345. But in the end, the flattery ends up destroying those who accept it.
Today ask the Lord to help you escape flattering words and to help you be a loyal and truthful person with those around you.