Warning: this is not a post about crafts.
In case you didn't guess, there was some sarcasm in the title of my post. (But hey, if Moses can say it, why can't I?!) Kidding.
My friend, Heidi, recently blogged here about the things you say, but I think more importantly, HOW you say them. I'm gonna keep going here and add on the 'when'. I've been learning about this in the past few years. I think for my most my life, I've lacked some tact, and that's a fact. I can think of many times that people have told me that I offended them by how I said something. Not even what I said, but how. Most of it was based on my tone of voice. Or bad timing. Or because I just felt like it SOOOO important that this person just had to know what I was thinking. Like my opinion would be a determining factor in their well-being as a person. Like I said, I'm awesome.
Two big things I've learned in regards to communicating effectively without causing offense:
1. Most of the time, I don't need to tell people my opinion. In fact, usually they don't really want or need to know. And if they want to know, they'll most often ask.
2. In Heidi's words, "Your speech becomes effective when you put your desires to the side and put the other person before you. It's called honor." Very nicely put. And so true. I'm are honoring the person who is hearing me when I consider them before opening my mouth.
Back in my younger years when I was a teen and in my early twenties, (I'm 27 now. An old fogie.) I had this notion that people really needed to know what I thought. For example, I had this friend. She had some major issues. And I ain't just sayin that. I mean, serious emotional issues. And me, in my amazing wisdom, decided that it would be in her best interest if someone told her about these issues, since she didn't seem to see them as clearly as I. So one day, I sat her down and revealed to her that she really needed to change some things.
Yeah, that went over well.
My intentions were pure. I felt that in order for her to be a better person and get over these issues, she needed to be confronted by them. What I didn't realize was that I wasn't letting the Holy Spirit lead me. I totally took it on myself to be her teacher. I'm pretty sure you know where the discussion went. NOWHERE. It did no good, and then she thought I was a total bleepity.
Sometimes, I see a status update on facebook that really peeves me. Someone stating a really strong opinion about something that is clearly meant to be controversial and offensive. I usually want to fight with them about it. Or add my little comment or scripture reference to back up why they're totally off base. But ya know what? Most times, that's just gonna add fuel to the flame and isn't gonna teach them a thing. Someone once said to me 'You can't tell a fool that they're a fool, because they're a fool.' So I sit back and let them ride it out. A few years ago, nope. Would have totally ranted. But I think I've learned that having a quiet and gentle spirit is WAY more effective than a loud, dripping faucet.
Here's my point. There's a time and place to say what we think, but even more importantly, there's more times and places where we shouldn't.