It's all in the timing...
People need to hear the hard stuff. It isn’t easy to say the things someone doesn’t really want to hear. But God commands us in 2 Timothy 4:2 to be prepared, be ready, and say the words when necessary. Whether we like it or not, there are times we have to say things people are not ready to hear. However, believe me I have learned the hard way, it’s all about the timing.
Please consider this blog a life lesson on tact and timing. I am going to share two personal examples of poor timing.
Example #1: I was treated very poorly by a local organization. It isn’t that the organization didn’t have the right to exercise their authority. It was more about how it was handled, when it was handled, and why it was handled in the first place. I sought support and solace from a very close friend. Instead of listening to me (and let me just say that I am a champion at NOT listening), she said something along the lines of, “Well, I hope it doesn’t take you too long to get over this.” What?! Now again, I am not claiming to have perfect timing, but I can tell you this experience taught me two things: 1) I will not seek support or solace from that friend again, and 2) Man! Talk about a slap in the face! In my hurt, God whispered, “See, that’s how others feel when your timing is off.”
Example #2: My family was going through a very, very, very hard time recently. Things looked pretty bleak. I shared with two or three friends my feelings of desperation. Most of the friends responded with, “I am so sorry,” or “I love you.” One of them came back with what I feel (and still feel) was probably the most calloused response ever.
I stopped feeling emotionally and spiritually safe with these two friends. I am not mean to them. I don’t look the other way when I see them walking down the street, but the friendship bond was severely severed. Now, here’s another cold, hard truth – I’ve also severed friendship bonds along the way by my calloused words. I am certainly not exempt from poor timing choices.
Here is what God taught me through these experiences: I need to stay quiet and listen unless one of two things happens. 1) If the person asks, “Roni, what do you think I should do?” or 2) If God says, “It’s time. Speak.” Otherwise, as a friend, I should be willing to listen.
Take it from a reformed know-it-all, it is really important that we listen more and speak less. Another good idea is to allow God to do the talking either through our actions or our words. My opinion really doesn’t carry much weight anyway. God’s will and His way always come at the perfect time.