Having the Courage to Tell the Truth -Bonus 7
By JoJo Tabares
“But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” -Matthew 5:37
As I pondered this scripture, it occurred to me that sometimes we say what we don’t mean in order to be kind. Sometimes we tell a “little white lie” in order to save someone from what we deem a cruel truth. I’m reminded of that Dr. Seuss book with the line, “Do you like my hat?” and the answer always comes, “No. I do not like that hat.” I lived in N.Y. for a time as a child. The story goes that New Yorkers are more truthful and blunt. They’ll tell you if they don’t like your hat and, in the long run, isn’t that kind? Consider this:
Aunt Millie is wearing her favorite purple hat. You know, the one that has red flowers all over it that she wears on special occasions whether or not it happens to go with her green and pink paisley dress. She asks you how she looks and you say, “Lovely.” After all, Aunt Millie is 97 million years old. What does it hurt if she stands a bit taller when she’s out with her friend who is sporting a green and brown striped 1972 vintage polyester blouse and a red and gold polka dotted crushed velvet knickers? After all, Aunt Millie really wasn’t asking if you liked her outfit, she was asking if she glowed…and she did! Now what if Aunt Millie was trying to get a job as a receptionist? Wouldn’t it be best to share with her, in a kind way, what the company might expect of her attire?
Not telling the truth can result in dire consequences. What if Aunt Millie was, instead, a neighbor up against some stiff competition for that receptionist job–one of whom was your own daughter? What if you deliberately didn’t give Millie this information in order that your daughter would have a better chance to get the job? What if Aunt Millie were a 15 year old girl about to go out alone with a boy wearing something rather skimpy? Wouldn’t it be in her best interest to give her the benefit of your wise council?
How many times a day are we confronted with the question of whether or not to tell someone something they probably don’t want to hear? How can we decide when it’s best to share that or stay out of it? Here are some questions you can ask yourself that may help:
1. Is the person aware of any dangers their actions may present to them or others?
2. Is the danger likely?
3. How dangerous are the consequences?
4. Can this person handle him/herself if the danger comes to pass?
5. How can you put this in the kindest possible way?
6. Do you have an ulterior motive for telling or not telling someone something where you might benefit?
After weighing these questions in your mind, pray for discernment and then act accordingly or these may cometh of evil.
JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication, but it is her humorous approach to communication skills which has made her a highly sought-after Christian speaker and writer. Her articles appear in homeschool publications, such as Homeschool Enrichment Magazine and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, which also endorses her Say What You Mean curricula. You can also find JoJo on web sites such as Crosswalk.com and Dr.Laura.com. For more information on communication FUNdamentals and Christian-based communication skills for the whole family, please visit http://www.ArtofEloquence.com
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