Favor With Man, Or Favor With God?
Read Proverbs Chapter 28
Pr 28:23 He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor than he who has a flattering tongue.
Part of the Christian movement over the past several decades has been to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings. One of the reasons that movement has come about is because Christians have bought into the idea that we are not allowed to judge others. The bible does in fact have many scriptures which instruct us to not judge. However, ‘judging’ has been greatly misinterpreted. We have no choice but to make some judgments. Do we have a choice but to judge the man who commits murder? Are we not allowed to say that he has committed a sin? Of course we can say that! We are compelled to do so. What about the man who robs you at gunpoint? Would you tell that man that it is okay to continue robbing others? Of course you would not! We are compelled to judge whether or not a man has committed a transgression, as long as it is in accordance with the scriptures we have been given.
Another reason we have become silent about sin is hinted at in this verse from Proverbs. We don’t want others to dislike us. We would rather flatter someone than to risk losing their friendship. Additionally, we have come to believe that we must become friends of the world in order to woo them to a saving knowledge of Christ. I’m not sure how that idea has taken hold so solidly within the Christian church community. Nowhere in the scriptures are God’s people instructed, or even allowed, to become friends with the world. Imagine if you will, someone from among the Israelites telling Joshua that a better plan would be for the Israelites to talk to those living in Jericho and become their friends. Ludicrous!
If you want a New Testament example, try this one. Can you imagine Paul going into Corinth with a gospel message like this one: “Corinthians, I want to tell you about salvation through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I would like for you to come to believe in Him as your Savior. Meanwhile, continue to worship the Phoenician gods as you currently do. Abandon them when you feel like it or when you feel convicted.” He did nothing of the sort. Everywhere he went, he preached a message of repentance from all things which were contrary to the will of our Lord. He refused to ‘have a flattering tongue’ to anyone whom he taught or preached.
It is very tempting to flatter the world today. It is tempting to believe and teach that man does not have to change his life in order to be a follower of Christ. We don’t want to tell a co-habitating man and woman that they must get married in order to follow Christ. Many Christians no longer feel free to tell teenagers that sex before marriage is against God’s will. If we do those things, they will not like us. We feel that we must flatter them in order to gain their attention.
Well, it’s simply not true. The scriptures do not allow us to flatter someone, if doing so allows them to continue indulging in sin. This Proverb should tell us something. In the end, those who heard the true message and heeded it will thank the messenger who steered them away from sinful ways. And, those who heard the true message but did not heed it will regret their decision. In both cases, the one who delivered truth, rather than flattery, will gain more favor from our Lord than they ever could have gained from those they flattered. It is much better to gain the favor of God than it is to gain the favor of man.
Ps 49:13 This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings.14 Like sheep they are destined for the grave, and death will feed on them.
We live in a world which is destined for the grave, and death will feed on them. We don’t have time to flatter people in order to gain their favor. Too many men and women are believing lies, trusting in their own wisdom, and following those who feed upon them and flatter them –“You’re okay. You believe in Jesus – that’s all you need. God understands. It’s not a sin to live a gay life.”
Prayer: Lord, we pray every day for our friends and loved ones who are headed for death and destruction. And as usual, we pray that You prevent us from changing our minds in order to believe our enemy’s lies. We have seen many of our brothers and sisters who once professed truth, now turning away from what they once believed. God have mercy!