Lack in Tact :: By Mindy Silva

The word tact may be missing from some of the many versions of the Bible that we seem to have around these days. It also seems to be missing from our spiritual makeup. We lack tact. Though the word itself may be lacking in whatever version of the Bible you happen to have, be assured that the intent of the word— is still there.

Don’t we just love Paul’s admonishments? There are so many things he covered in his epistles that anyone would think he is still around somewhere busily writing to the church of today. Human nature is human nature and the Lord gave him to understand that in a born-again believer, that human nature has to go. We have no excuse.

Every sin committed after we are born-again is still sin. It’s still called sin, too, and recognized as such. He didn’t mince his words. Yet, he spoke with love, caring, and concern. And, he lived what he preached—for his body had the marks to prove his words; his message on the behavior and conduct of the born-again believer? (If I can do it, so can you.)

Paul brought his words across in such a way meant to show we can do it. As a matter of fact, he insisted that one who still sins does not know God. And he wasn’t addressing himself to unbelievers either, but to the saved, the born-again believer in Christ Jesus. He didn’t say it was easy; on the contrary, his words were based on his own experiences of living for Christ.

And he was showing us how to do the same.

We are admonished to live a peaceful quiet life, not to gossip, not to speak evil of dignitaries. This is something many are brain-dead about; they just cannot recall seeing it in the Bible. We are also told how to address the saved and how to address the unsaved. Yet sometimes we find ourselves speaking words among the saved, as if we were still living as the unsaved.

In speaking among believers, the same tact we exhibit when speaking to unbelievers should also mark our speech and be reflected in what we say and how we say it. We cannot speak to the saved with words the unsaved are accustomed to using. Otherwise, the approach defeats the purpose. Our speech denotes what we carry with us inside our hearts.

Our words, which should be seasoned with salt, sometimes seem to evidence too much salt; forgetting it is pollution in an environment of purity and sanctity.

We don’t stop to think how to bring across the right words in our message, whether in conversation or in our correspondence. Where is the time made for reflecting, meditating on the best approach in addressing the uprising in our spirit, whether the uprising is justified or not? And, even if one thinks it is justified, one should pause momentarily before responding, shoot a short silent prayer up to heaven and ask for the Holy Spirit to put the right words in our mouth, for it is out of the heart, the mouth speaks.

Our composition should reflect the same thing. When our spirit is uncontrolled, unbridled, often what we say and do can come across as an attack, or worse – lack of spirituality. Unbridled, it can be perceived as cold and impersonal when it isn’t meant to be that way. What then happens to the brotherhood/sisterhood in Christ? The uprising of the ego seems to lead us into transgressing in areas that are to be included on the list of the fruit of the spirit.

Be gentle, able to know how to answer – this not just for when we deal with those on the outside; it applies to everyone. The same courtesy afforded one, should be afforded the other. Even outsiders know more about a true Christian’s behavior than most Christians tend to know themselves.

Our speech has to match our walk; after all, we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. We are to be humble, letting our yes be yes, and our no, be our nay. When it is anything other than that, we are stepping onto rocky ground. What is noted by others then is the absence of tact.

Yet, we are to swallow what others can’t, and are to leave nothing on hold in the inside. The receiving end may not always perceive it in that light, for tact doesn’t involve giving in or being stupid. Being gentle as doves and wise as serpents, means knowing when it’s the best time to act, and not to act; when to say yes, and when to say no.

Being tactful, means being non-confrontational; confrontational assaults are unbecoming to us, especially as born-again believers. We can’t always avoid confrontations for these assaults can come hidden in many forms – addressed to a particular person, or disguised in a group email.

How those confrontations are handled, is where tact is much needed and should be employed…asking ourselves what is really at stake here— the truth, or the ego and whose ego?

And yes, though we are not all alike, the tongue which is tied to our mouths which is tied to our brains, needs to be bridled in addition to our spirit so we can be alike at least in that sense. The Bible leaves no room for doubt in how we are to conduct ourselves. There is much written about that. But it tends to be overlooked as if it doesn’t apply to us personally. But, is it a matter of picking and choosing then?

Maybe there is confusion in our spiritual makeup. Maybe the problem might be that since our walk is a personal one with the Master, what His Word says on a particular issue cannot possibly apply to us!

“Oh, no, that doesn’t apply to me,” one might say.

But it does. Every word on conduct and behavior with all types of people, whether Christian or not, is spelled out word for word in the Bible.

Opportunistic avenues of transmitting our hidden assaults are signs of deviousness…unbecoming to the saint. Being wise as serpents and gentle as doves, does not mean being devious, cloaking our likes and dislikes, our slights and intents. Nor does it mean being manipulative or getting on our high horse and galloping throughout Christendom vociferously claiming our opinions. Doing so invites many unwanted, unsavory spirits of malevolence to seep in, and setting an example that only serves to mimic the very distasteful deeds of the world. God forbid!

While the world glitters, and sparkles and flashes and competes for the head of the line (no matter whose guts get ripped on the way to get there) that is not our way. It shouldn’t be. We are not called to duplicate those ways, we are called to be different, to exhibit the opposite for we have been called out of that world. A life not just sanctified in Christ, but one who shows it.

There is such a thing as becoming righteously indignant and yet not considered sin. Yet some do not know where to draw the line, and go overboard in trying to get the message across in whatever way they can without figuring what the cost is going to be—on both sides. This only adds to the apparent inconsistency in not being fully equipped with the Word and that we need to spend more time with our noses in it.

It may be difficult at times, especially now in these latter days, to lead a quiet peaceful life, and not to be taken aback or surprised at any of the socio-cultural-political issues that make our blood boil sky high. It doesn’t mean we won’t feel this way at some time or another, but we are expected to know this is the way of the world and we are called out to be different from that world. And as every day goes by…everything is leading to more of the same, and worse.

We can’t jump on every campaign and fume over every injustice, can we? God is still in control guys. We may not understand certain things or agree with others most of the time, but we are to be cognizant of who we are in Christ. Our job, our mission is to make disciples of men. To spread the gospel…in any way we can. If we deviate from this then we cultivate a radical approach to our Christianity that is then attacked by those who are not Christian.

They are more aware it seems, of how a true Christian is to behave than we do ourselves. Our conduct and our talk are dissected in order to condemn the very reason for our existence—Christ. And in being a follower of Christ, are we showing meekness? Are we being humble? Are we striving for purity? After all, we are followers of our Lord and Savior, so, yes; we are then to be imitators of Him also.

Realize that some things are not meant for us to handle. Yes, we don’t like, or agree on, certain things going on in the world, especially in these last of the last days, but we are not to lash out as if we still operate from that worldview. If we do, then it opens the door to things we have no control over, and we might end up taking it personally. We shouldn’t take anything personally. It doesn’t mean we ignore it. The fact is that whatever IT is—IT exists.

But, were we called to fight that battle?

Or any other battle?

What did Paul say our battle was all about?

We are seeing deception in every nook, crevice and cranny of our daily lives. It shouldn’t take us by surprise by reacting to any of it; even the things taking place within the body of Christ. Yes, we should be at the ready but with our spiritual might given to us in Scripture, for though Jesus told us He was giving us power over ALL the enemy, it still has to be His way in the Spirit—not our carnal nature.

We should be praying as we consider what is working on our attention and depleting us of our spiritual energy. They only serve to divert us from what is truly important in our life as the Body of Christ with the potential of it becoming a thorn in our side.

But Paul did manage to live with his thorn in the side…can we?