Key Verse: Verse 23 - "A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!"
Key Words: A word spoken in due season how good it is
The right words said at the right time in the right way are precious. Today the use of being tactful is almost a dead art.
Wisely labeled “The Saving Virtue,” tact can grace our life like the fragrance of a sweet-smelling rose. Tact is appropriate, attractive, alluring, and appealing; but it is also rare. Oh, so rare!
Remember the teachers you had who lacked tact? You wondered each day if this was going to be the day you were singled out for humiliation.
Remember the salesman you encountered who lacked tact and the only thing you wanted from him was to be far, far away?
And who can forget the physician who did not consider you a person, but instead you were Case 35? You were a body with blood pressure 120/70, height 5’7”, weight 150, and you need surgery immediately. All of this was spoken in monotone while he stared at a brown folder stuffed with X-rays and charts. Brilliant? Yes – but no tact.
Perhaps you heard about the wife who went on a long trip which took her to New York, London, Paris, and Rome. She called home one day to check on her poodle. When she asked how he was, her husband bluntly blurted out, “Well, he died.” “Well,” she said through her tears and shock, “you didn’t have to say it so tactless.” “What should I have said?” he asked. “You should have broken the news gently. When I called from New York, you could have said, ‘The dog is on the roof.’ The next day when I called from London, you could have said, ‘He fell off the roof.’ The following day when I called from Paris, you could have said, ‘The dog is at the vet’s in the hospital,’ and finally, when I called from Rome, you could have said, “Dear, the poodle didn’t make it.’” Then the wife said, “Now learn to be tactful.” Then she asked, “How’s mom?” Pausing just for a second, he then replied, “Dear, your mom is on the roof.”
That’s brutal, isn’t it? We need to be tactful. Solomon warns us that a “brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city,” and that “contentions are like the bars of a castle.”
I read about a shoe salesman who on the first day of his new job was told by his employer not to say, “Your foot is too big for the shoe.” Instead, he was taught to say, “I’m sorry, ma’am, but the shoe is just too little for your foot.” Both statements express the same fact, but one was an insult while the other was “tact.” Now, tact didn’t change her foot size but it did save face and that’s what tact is all about.
What to do:
✞ Be tactful, if not, just be quiet!!
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