12-28-07

I have a confession to make.  I really want people to like me.  I know that for some people that sounds like I have a problem, and perhaps I do.  But I also have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not the only person who wants people to like them.  As you grow up, you learn about what kinds of things you need to do in order to get a person to like you.  One easy way is to say something nice to the other person.  If I tell you that you look nice today, you might like me better than if I told you looked ugly.  Think of Eddie Haskell on “Leave it to Beaver”, “Gee Mrs. Cleaver, you sure look nice today…”

But in reality, flattery just for the sake of getting someone to like you doesn’t last very long.  In fact, if you have an “Eddie Haskell” in your life, you probably don’t enjoy all their compliments, do you?  Solomon was pretty wise when he gave us this gem:  “He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward than he who flatters with the tongue” (Prov 28:23) 

Now when Solomon says it’s better to “rebuke” than to “flatter”, there are some things to keep in mind.  I have this suspicion that the “rebuke” Solomon is talking about isn’t a Marine Drill Sergeant yelling in your face.  I have this idea that it’s a little closer to what Paul wrote in Eph. 4:15, “speaking the truth in love”.  I personally don’t enjoy criticism for the sake of “honesty” if I have this suspicion that the person criticizing me doesn’t care for me.  But when a person is honest with me, and I know they are giving their difficult truth in love, it becomes something I can benefit from.  Want someone to like you?  Choose carefully how you proceed.