27 If you dig a pit,
you will fall in;
if you start a stone rolling,
it will roll back on you.
28Watch out for anyone
who tells lies and flatters—
they are out to get you.
5Flattery is nothing less
than setting a trap.
These few verses have one common theme: traps. Whether they are traps set by you or for you, it is important to know what they look like so you can avoid falling into them.
The first way to avoid falling into a trap, as illustrated in the first verse of this passage, is to not set traps for others, because that is one of the surest ways to get yourself into trouble. Often, a big motive behind setting a trap for someone is for the sake of revenge, which gives you another reason not to do it: vengeance is the Lord’s. So instead of trying to catch someone in a lie or gossip or whatever the case may be, consider just speaking to them directly. It will save you a lot of time in the long run, and you’ll be doing things God’s way.
The rest of the verses speak to flattery, which can be very dangerous indeed. While it is important to be on the lookout for people who try to flatter you, the two most dangerous flatterers are far less conspicuous. Often, some of the shortest pathways to sin start with a few flattering sentences we whisper to ourselves.
The Enemy knows this trick as well. “You’re strong enough to surf the Internet without getting into anything,” he says. Or, “You have so much to be proud of – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.” And if we allow ourselves to listen, we will undoubtedly fall into his traps. So be on your guard and, with God’s help, learn how to discern the difference between truth and flattery.
Faithful Father, you are Truth and Love. I pray that as I get to know and love you more, I will always be able hear your voice above all others, and with your help, avoid any traps that have been laid before me. In Jesus’ powerful name I pray, Amen.
Larissa is a Toronto based actor and writer who has dabbled in everything from scripts to short stories, and is now setting her sights on novels. Having studied English and history at Tyndale University and Seminary, she loves a good story, but her favorite stories always have happy endings - which is part of why she loves the true story of the Gospel so much.