Some observations on 'tact'

'The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly...' Proverbs 15:2 NKJV

Did you hear about the husband who was totally clueless? The day his wife left on a business trip their dog died. That night she called home and he blurted out, 'Your dog's dead!' Angry with him for being insensitive she said, 'You should've broken it to me gently. You could have said, "The dog's on the roof." Then next day added, "He fell off." The following day you could've said, "He's at the vet." And the day after that you could have told me he died.' While her husband paused to consider this she asked, 'By the way, how's my mother?' Cautiously he replied, 'Well dear...she's on the roof!'

One dictionary definition of tact is: 'skill in situations where people's feelings need to be considered...an intuitive sense of what's right or appropriate.' Tact is not about being deceptive or insincere. It's about being considerate and not hurting others unnecessarily.

Some people think that telling the truth means that no tact is needed: just present the bare facts. A man once wrote: 'I used to sell shoes years ago... a seasoned employee told me never to say, "Lady, your foot's too big for this shoe!" Instead I should say, "I'm sorry, ma'am, but this shoe's just a little too small for your foot."' Both expressed the facts, but one was an insult...the other a tactful compliment.'

So what now? In sensitive situations engage your brain before opening your mouth. Remember, 'Careless words stir up anger. The tongue of the wise speaks knowledge that is pleasing and acceptable' (Proverbs 15:1-2 AMP).

Soulfood: Ex 10-12, John 1:14-28, Ps 131, Prov 26:7-9

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