I must admit being diplomatic is something I had to work on often. My style of communication has gotten me in more hot water than I care to admit. Honesty is the best policy, but it’s not a license to say whatever we want. One of the most important skills we can develop is the ability to deal with people. The Bible says, “Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone.” (Colossians 4:6 NLT)
I remember one day after church, I drove one of the church mothers home. When we arrived at her house, I pulled over to let her out the car. Directly behind us was a car with an irate lady honking her horn, and yelling out the window. I could have responded with gentleness, by saying “I’m sorry we’ll be out your way in a minute.” Instead, I immediately yelled “What’s the problem lady!” Before mother walked away she decided to pray for me, asking God to give me a gentle spirit. Needless to say, that was the beginning of my transition.
I knew my actions were ungodly. I thought what if she just received devastating news, and needed to get somewhere quickly? What if I saw again for some great business opportunity. More importantly, what if she came to my church, and I had to pray for her. This woman’s heart would be hardened because of our encounter. The ability to communicate with sensitivity definitely has benefits, We’ve all heard, “You get more with honey than vinegar“, and “Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy.” Being tactful doesn’t mean hide what you feel, it means express yourself in a way that won’t add offense. This is something we may not master over night, it takes effort and help from God. Here are some tips that can help:
1. Think before you speak: If you pause and think, a delayed response changes the response.
2. Check your body language and tone: It’s not what you say it’s how you say it.
3. Choose your words wisely: Ask yourself will the words I choose be offensive?
4. Be mindful of your timing: Remember timing is everything. You can have a great point, but say it at the wrong time.
Scripture: (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV) But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.