9.2.17

A Tactful Christian--Easier Said Than Done?

by Sally Matheny

Wondering Where the Tactful
Christians Are?
Man, oh, man. Have the things you’ve recently seen in the media shocked you? 

Are you infuriated or depressed?

Have the conversations peppered across social media left you flabbergasted? 

I understand, really I do.

After reading them, I wonder if I should respond. I want to be sensitive and respectful—not offending anyone. Yet, I’d like to encourage people to seek the truth. But, I struggle trying to find the right words.

Most of the time, I end up not engaging in online “discussions” at all. I’m fearful of the consequences. Much can be misinterpreted. I’m tenderhearted. Plus, they can sap my energy and time.

Do you think this way, too?


Or maybe you have a strong, straightforward approach. No hee-hawing around. You’re passionate about making your point and you press hard to make your mark. 

Heated debates? You say, “Bring it.”

Both of these methods of communication, or non-communication, may lack something. Is it possible to pull them together and produce a tactful Christian? 

Let’s see. It may be easier said, than done.


Tact is a fine art

“Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy.”

“Tact is rubbing out another’s mistake instead of rubbing it in.”

It’s funny how the these quotes are from anonymous authors. Talk about being discreet.

So, tact is a fine art of knowing when and how to address an issue in a way that is not insulting.

Pastor and author, Greg Laurie, said,

“Sure, there is a place for point and counterpoint. Sure, we need to defend our beliefs. But no one has ever been argued into the kingdom of God. And I have seen Christians win the argument and lose the soul.” 


Tact is love, grace, and salt

Look how the Amplified version puts Colossians 4:5-6,
Behave yourselves wisely [living prudently and with discretion] in your relations with those of the outside world (the non-Christians), making the very most of the time and seizing (buying up) the opportunity.
Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone [who puts a question to you].

Quite often, we forget the part about making the most of our opportunities with non-Christians and with Christians who have strayed from God’s truth. 

If the Holy Spirit nudges us to say something about our faith, and we don’t, then we have left out the essential “salt” that will make all the difference.


Our motives in communicating with others should always be with love and grace.

If we’re not feeling the love, then we may need to step away from the electronic devices before blasting out our comments.

The heart of the righteous studies how to answer,
But the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.
” Proverbs 15:28 (NKJV)


Remember what Jesus said,  

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:43-45 (NKJV)


It doesn’t mean we must like what someone is doing. We are called to hate what is evil and cling to what is good. Hate the sin. Love the sinner.

For those of you who are in the midst of being cursed, hated, and persecuted, your heads may be shaking in disbelief.

Loving and treating your enemies kindly is not the first thing that comes to mind. 

Do good to those who hate you? It’s easier said, than done.


Tact is sometimes silent

Sometimes choosing silence is the best expression of tact.

Senseless controversies swell and fester. It takes strength and wisdom to know 
when to walk away. Just because you can say something, doesn’t mean you should.

 “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with    those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.” 2 Timothy 2:22-23 (NKJV)


Tactful Christians require greater power

When it is time to engage in a discussion, we must call on the help of Jesus. Left to our own intentions, we’re likely to dump out the whole saltshaker rather than sprinkle it with discernment.

Or we may get so caught up in an emotional moment that we totally forget the love, grace, and the Salt!

The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”   2 Timothy 2:24-26 (NASB)

Obeying the Holy Spirit’s nudging to engage in a difficult conversation, requires courage and self-sacrifice.

Again, easier said, than done. I know!

But we have to remind ourselves God does not want us to be afraid. He wants us to speak to others the truth of His love. We must trust Him to give us the right words when we need them.

Hmmm. . . . Maybe that’s the key to being a tactful Christian.

Waiting on the Lord.
Waiting for His truth, His love, 
and His grace to override 
everything else 
inside of us before we allow 
our words to flow out.

Loving others more than ourselves, especially those who are vastly different in their opinions, is not always easy.

But with God's power, it can be done.



Your thoughts?


2 comments:

  1. Outstanding post, Sally. I may have to borrow a couple of your thoughts for my next blog post. :-) Actually, Proverbs 15:28 gave me an idea for the next one. Thank you for that. I will be sharing this because I believe all Christians should see it. Thank you, again. God bless you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Bruce. Glean and share all you like. This is a message we all need to practice. Blessings to you as you continue to encourage others.

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