AT THE RIGHT TIME
I think “they” are right.
The art of honesty requires sensitivity to timing. If a friend tells me that her daughter is struggling with schoolwork, then I don’t need to respond that my kid is getting straight A’s – even if it’s true.
IN THE RIGHT WAY
Communicating truth in the right way is usually the hardest for me. As a strong proponent of absolute truth, I tend to get my hairs tangled whenever I wish to blast someone with a bit of reality. Since I know this to be true of myself, it is especially important that I am slow to speak (James 1:19).
By prayerfully submitting my thoughts to the Holy Spirit, I want to glorify God in everything I do (Colossians 3:17). Thankfully, the older I get, the better I become at speaking the truth in love.
I need to love people as much as I love Truth. That day in the grocery store parking lot was a poor example of communicating the truth in love. Unfortunately, I cared more about the principle of proper parking than the person. That truth only served to put someone down for committing a wrong deed.
The right way to communicate truth is with a genuine concern for the other individual.
With this genuine concern for the other person, the right way to communicate a difficult truth is face to face. It’s easy to send an e-mail or leave a message on an answering machine. But it’s never appropriate to communicate criticisms or feelings of disappointment in these ways.
An e-mail is a one-way mode of communication. It’s like dropping a bomb and then hiding.
It takes courage to talk with someone face to face, and if a certain truth is important enough, then it should be done in a way that is courteous and respectful. Face to face is the right way to communicate a truth. And if that’s not possible, a phone conversation is next best.
But if neither of these ways are an option, then I would choose to wait until they are. It’s just too easy to misread a written word because, in an e-mail, we can never hear the tone in someone’s voice or see the expression on someone’s face.
at the right time and in the right way?