Galatians 4:16-18 ESV Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth? (17) They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them. (18) It is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and not only when I am present with you,
As I have written before on this topic, I won’t write at great length here. But this subject deserves repetition and reminder. The wicked use flattery to dupe us. That is what Paul is warning the Galatians about here. They make much of you. But it is for an evil purpose, not a good one.
This is a common tactic of evil and we must be wise to it. Every single evil person who I have seen creep into our church over the years has started out with this business of flattery.
- This is the best church I have ever been in
- You are the best preacher I have ever heard
- You all are so much better than my old church
- That was the most insightful lesson on Scripture I have heard
- blah, blah, blah, blah
Domestic abusers will “court” (ie, “set up”) their target with flattery. They can use an avalanche of romantic talk and actions and, as they say, sweep the potential victim off her feet. Love-bombing is another fitting phrase here.
So beware. I am not the best preacher in the world. You are not the most beautiful woman who ever walked the face of the earth (though you may be very pretty!). It is not “normal” for someone to go over the edge with flattering comments. As soon as such behavior starts to make you uneasy, as soon as it “feels” inappropriate, it is time to look out. Most likely you are being set up. As Paul put it, their purpose in making much of you is so that they can take you captive and demand that you make much of them – or else.