It's all in the timing...I think.
Is it wrong to say something is wrong when it is definitely wrong? OR is it best to keep quiet?
A very good friend of mine is going through a difficult time. While it isn’t anyone’s fault that she is going through a difficult time, there are some who strengthen her during this difficult time and some who want to make certain she knows what is wrong so she can fix it. So who is the better friend?
I believe there are right ways and right times to say the right thing. I also believe there are wrong ways and bad timing to say the right thing. However, I stand by my opinion that there is never a good time or a right way to say the wrong thing.
My struggling friend had someone tell her, “I’m just honest and blunt.” When my friend tearfully shared her version of the altercation with me, it felt eerily familiar. My heart sank. I must admit I’ve said those exact same words at different times in my life.
Lesson A: It is very helpful if honest and blunt people would first ask, “May I share my opinion?” OR “Would it be okay to share what I’ve learn from experiences like these?” Honesty isn’t a virtue if the honesty is cruel. Bluntness isn’t so blunt if we’ve asked permission to stretch the emotional boundary.
Lesson B: Ask yourself (before offering your opinion), “Have I made an investment in this person’s life that allows me to make a withdrawal?” In other words, are your words always condemning to this person or is your honesty balanced? Can you say you have built them up so when the time is right you have enough relationship dollars in the emotional bank to provide feedback even if that feedback let's them down? (Notice I didn't say, "Puts them down." There is a difference.)
Lesson C: Can the person handle it? All of us need constructive criticism and valuable feedback when we truly seek to improve our self, both as a person and in our performance. Hindsight is 20/20. Foresight is a gift. Wait for the right time to say the right thing and please say it in the right way. (Yes, Lord.)
Interacting with other people is very much like the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” Often times, we are too hot. Many times, we are too cold. Our goal should be to come across just right.
Who do I need to encourage today? Who do I need to set up some time with to say, “I feel….” Please never blurt out, “You’re wrong.” That is definitely not right.
Christ’s idea of the Church is to both edify (build up) and disciple (teach). Now, that’s just right!