Friday, March 19, 2010

What Flattery Will Get You...

Proverbs 20:19 - "He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips."
Proverbs 26:29 - "A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin."

In my wise old age, I have learned how to discern someone who is trying to influence me for my own good from someone who is influencing me to my detriment through flattery.  I do not naturally have this gift for discernment.  I have learned the hard way.  I've been known to be gullible.  I'm getting better at it than I used to be.  I'll share with you one painful example of how I allowed flattery to influence a decision I made. See below....

It pains me to even discuss this car.  I used to own one of these.  It was something I was "smooth-talked" into buying.  I didn't feel or see the flattery coming. "Blah, blah, blah."   I wasn't forced into anything.  This ended up being my nightmare packaged as a bargain beauty.  I won't even discuss how.  Trust me. Flattery lured me into buying this "rotten, red tomato".  Ugh.  It still hurts.

Here's a good attempt at flattery!  Once a salesman came to my door and told me I looked like some movie star he knew.  (Hahahahaha.)  I don't even remember what he was selling because I was so intrigued with his unique door approach.  He probably told all my neighbors they looked like movie stars.  Tammie?  Did he come to your door? 

President Ezra Taft Benson has said, "The record of the Nephite history just prior to the Savior’s visit reveals many parallels to our own day as we anticipate the Savior’s second coming."  Today we had a great discussion on FLATTERY.   In 3 Nephi 1:29-30, the youth of the church, or the rising generation, were growing older, and "they became for themselves" (selfish), and were being led away by the Zoramites (anti-Christ apostate Nephites) by their lyings, and flattering words to join the Gadianton band.    They began to decrease in their faith and righteousness, leading them to be wicked.   I pointed this out to my class because of the sadness I felt in reading this.  I wanted to see if they felt that this reflected our youth of today.  We talked about ways they have been influenced by flattery and we shared examples of "masked flattery".  Sometimes we aren't aware of the influence of flattery until it's too late. 

In 3 Nephi 3, Lachoneus, the chief governor of the Nephites, has received an epistle from Giddianhi, the leader of the Gadianton Band.  Giddianhi uses what I call "insulting flattery" to get Lachoneus to give up the land, cities, and possessions of the Nephites.  He disguises his "requests" (demands) to sound civil.  In actuality, Giddianhi intends to take what he wants regardless of Lachoneus' decision to keep or retain their possessions. A person who attempts to flatter us, thinking that his flattery will work, really shows how little he thinks of us. Giddianhi tries to make the deals he's proposing sound better than they really are.  Lachoneus, being a "just and brave man" couldn't be frightened by Giddianhi's threats or demands and chooses to fortify the Nephites. This is what he has them do:

1. Cry unto the Lord for strength (spiritually)
2.  Gather together their people, provisions, flocks, substance in one place (unity)
3.  Fortify and protect themselves (temporally) with armies and guards.

It was crucial that the Nephites follow a righteous leader, who wasn't susceptible to the deceivings of flattery.  I was important that they exert their faith in God; the source of their strength.   They also received strength from each other through unity.  To have contention with one another would diminish their strength.  They needed to temporally prepare and work together to help each other.  The Nephites ended up gathering enough provisions to survive off of for 7 years from their preparation.  The Gadianton band eventually was extinguished. 

As latter-day saints, we're fortunate to have the scriptures and living prophets to teach us how to prepare for troubled times.  Everything we discussed today about flattery and how to avoid being influenced by it can come in quite handy.  I want to believe all of the youth in my class can avoid becoming like the youth described in 3 Nephi 1:29-30.  We'll be going through 3 Nephi with a "fine-toothed comb" as a class.  This is important stuff!

This is my sensible set of wheels.  It helped me get over the "sting" of the red MGB. Lesson learned.

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