Joel 2:25 NIV
Kristine Steakley writes: “Loss can make us feel forsaken and utterly destroyed…For many divorce meant leaving the house we grew up in, our neighborhood, our friends, our school…even our church because we were ashamed and heard condemnation from those who should have been concerned for our souls. To use Joel’s metaphor, locusts ate our family; more locusts ate our friendships…and still more ate our church… But God promised, ‘Never again will my people be shamed’ (v. 26). I can’t tell you what restoration will look like…or when it’ll happen. Some of us will see relationships with parents and siblings mended…others will build great marriages and loving families… and some may have to wait for heaven where all wrongs will be righted, all wounds healed, all tears wiped away.” One Bible teacher says: “Resist the temptation to despair or delve into disappointment. You may feel like you’ve forfeited years, opportunities, finances, and a significant return on investment of self. But hear the fantastic promise of redemption: ‘I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.’ No one on earth can make anything up to you. No one can pay. No one can set things right or make things fair. Pressure and manipulation won’t bring justice. So let it go and let God fill your life with new blessings. If you’re full of resentment and wrath He can’t find space for His gifts. God will make it up to you if you keep an expectant attitude of faith, and thank Him that His promises are yours.”
Job 32:21 NCV
It’s important for us to learn how to recognise flattery. It’s usually excessive, over-the-top praise, and the giver will have an ulterior motive. Perhaps to make you more open and sympathetic towards them in order to gain your approval, or maybe to get something out of you that benefits them. A genuine compliment is truthful praise, given from a heart that’s not seeking to gain anything at all. We need to learn the difference because flattery can damage us. If we begin to trust the words of someone who deliberately uses it, they gain a kind of power over us, a way to manipulate us. The Bible even warns us about people who use flattery. Romans 16:18 reminds us: ‘Such people are not serving our Lord Christ…by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naïve people’ (NIV). Job’s friend Elihu said: ‘I will be fair to everyone and not flatter anyone. I don’t know how to flatter, and if I did, my Maker would quickly take me away’ (Job 32:21-22 NCV). It’s clear that God sees flattery as unfair and untruthful. So when we start being susceptible to flattery, it can give us a false idea of ourselves. It might tempt us to think we’re better than we actually are, and then we lose some of our motivation to improve and grow. Proverbs 27:6 says that ‘wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy’ (NLT). Even if it hurts for a while, it’s much better for us to hear truthful words from someone who really cares, and wants us to be our best, than to be given insincere compliments from someone who’s trying to gain something from us.
Job 32:21 NLV
Toe Stephen Spielberg ‘n tingerige tiener was, het ‘n boelie sy visier op hom ingestel. Moeg vir die aanhoudende teistering wat hy later as ‘hel op aarde’ sou beskryf, het hy besluit om die boelie te vlei deur hom te vertel dat hy soos John Wayne lyk en dat die boelie dit moet oorweeg om die held in ‘n fliek oor die Tweede Wêreldoorlog wat hy beplan het om te maak, te speel. Nadat Spielberg die boelie in ‘n kostuum gekry het en hom in die rol van die heroïese bendeleier aangestel het, het die boelie klei in sy hande geword. Anders as Spielberg se boelie, waardeer emosioneel gesonde mense net lof wanneer hulle dit verdien. Hulle kan ook ‘n kompliment wat met bymotiewe of om te vlei gegee is, raaksien. Die paradoks is dat die meeste mense, sonder goeie rede, vir bymotiewe op die uitkyk is wanneer iemand vir hulle ‘n kompliment gee. Elihu, die patriarg en Job se vriend, het gesê, ‘Ek sal niemand voortrek nie, en ek sal niemand vlei nie. As ek dit sou probeer doen, sou my Maker ‘n einde aan my maak’ (verse 21-22 NLV). Die Psalmdigter sê vir ons, ‘Die Here sny hulle vleiende lippe af…’ (Psalm 12:4 NLV). Hier is die vraag: Is vleitaal dit werd om van God se seën afgesny te word? Wanneer jy iemand vlei of ontvanklik raak vir vleitaal, is dit ‘n duidelike bewys van jou gebrek aan geloof in God se vermoë om jou guns by ander mense te gee. Guns is ‘n byvoordeel wanneer jy in ‘n verhouding met Hom is. ‘Want U seën die vromes, Here, u genade is vir hulle soos ‘n skild’ (Psalm 5:13 NLV).
Job 32:21 NIV
When Stephen Spielberg was a skinny teenager, he became the target of a bully. Fed up with the constant harassment which he later described as “hell on earth,” he decided to flatter the bully by telling him he looked like John Wayne and should consider playing the hero in an eight-millimeter movie about World War ll he was thinking of making. Once Spielberg outfitted him and cast him as a heroic squad leader, the bully became putty in his hands. However, unlike Spielberg’s bully, emotionally healthy people only appreciate sincere praise they have earned. And they can detect a compliment given with an ulterior motive or to gain their favor. The paradox is that most people tend to look with disfavour on someone who compliments them, for no apparent reason. Elihu-the patriarch Job’s friend-said, “I will show partiality to no one, nor will I flatter any man; for if I were skilled in flattery, my Maker would soon take me away” (vv. 21-22 NIV 1984 Edition). And the Psalmist tells us, “The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips” (Psalm 12:3 KJV). So here’s the question: Is flattery worth being cut off from the blessing of God? When you engage in or become susceptible to flattery, it’s clear evidence of your lack of faith in God’s ability to give you favor with other people. Favor is a fringe benefit of being in right standing with Him. “Surely…Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield” (Psalm 5:12 NIV 1984 Edition).
Sometimes we can live thinking that God’s like an examiner in a driving test, sitting there watching what we do, ready to make a note of all our minor and major faults. Or maybe we think that God has a big performance chart with our name on it, and at the end of... Ephesians 2:8 NLT
Sometimes we can live thinking that God’s like an examiner in a driving test, sitting there watching what we do, ready to make a note of all our minor and major faults. Or maybe we think that God has a big performance chart with our name on it, and at the end of each day He grades us to determine if He’ll love us more, or less, or not at all. We can get to the end of some days thinking ‘If I were God, I wouldn’t love me.’ We replay the day in our minds, judging ourselves and trying to anticipate God’s opinion of us. But we’re not God. God doesn’t save us by grace and then base how He feels about us on our spiritual performance. The Bible says, ‘God…out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved’ (vv. 4-5 NRSV). We’re chosen, we’re wanted, and God desires us to be part of His family. God took our sin and nailed it to the cross. He’s set us free. When Jesus cried from the cross, ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30), God wrote ‘Paid in full’ over every sin we’ll commit. Sometimes we can forget how much of a sacrifice God made to save us. But we should never forget that it’s because we’ve been saved by grace that we’ve got a full relationship with God and eternal life. That grace also means we don’t have to guess the level of God’s love. We already have it, and it’s the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.