Advertising and Flattery

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“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)

Growing Dominion, Part 158

“A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin” (Pr 26:28).

One of the great problems of business is the strained relationship between truth and advertising. Given that a Christian business ought to speak the truth about its products or services, and nothing else, it is still important for us to know the nature of the damage caused by the sin of deception. Deceivers often feel that their deceptions help them out, but really hurt no one else. But notice here that it says that a lying tongue hates those who are lied to. Notice also that a form of deception (as indicated by the Hebrew parallelism) is flattery, which also is a form of hatred. When you flatter the customer, it is easy to pretend that you are serving him when you are actually lying to him, trying to bring about his ruin.

One form of lying is to tell the customer lies about your product. This kind of lie hates the person afflicted by it. He thinks he is getting a product that will last longer than it actually will, or will work better than it actually will, and so on. Flattering advertising tells the customer lies about the customer. If you buy this car, the blonde dish comes with it, and if you shave with this lotion beautiful women will caress your cheek adoringly. Shoot, if you buy these snow tires . . . We like to tell ourselves that this kind of advertising never works, but it obviously does. If it had absolutely no effect, advertisers wouldn’t do it. But Scripture says that this, like all forms of flattery, “worketh ruin.”

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