Preacher's Pulpit by Dr. Joe Tims

Practical Christianity #2: Tact

Matthew 7:1-12

"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets."

INTRODUCTION

We continue with messages that deal with making our faith, practical and positive.

Remember, Jesus called us to be 'salt' and 'light' in this world. (Mt. 5:13-14) Before we can be 'light' we must first be 'salt'. That means we are to have an influence. That means we must develop or hone our people skills. How we deal with others.

This is so important if we want to be a positive witness for Christ. I want to discuss a little word, 'tact'.

Webster defines it as "a keen sense if what to do or say in order to maintain good relations with others or avoid offense'.

There are a number of synonyms for it: diplomacy, discretion, finesse, savvy, poise, and thoughtfulness.

Again, our Lord is to be our prime example to follow. When we consider how Jesus dealt with people, we find that it was always with care, love, and tact regardless of who the individual might be.

Even when He drove the moneychangers out of the temple, He didn't rant and rave against them personally. His desire was not to inflict injury either physical or emotional. He made it clear that it was their actions that had violated the temple.

I. We Need to Adopt the Biblical Pattern On How to Deal With People.

A. God's Word doesn't just offer suggestions.

1. When we read verses like our text, we need to understand that these are not just nice thoughts.

2. This is the very Word of God.

3. His Word is given for our instruction and development.

(2 Tim 3:16) "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"

4. God's Word is our standard when it comes to how we should deal with people!

B. Emotional reaction can be costly.

1. Too often we allow our emotions to get in the way of treating others properly.

2. Too much time is spent on what they did and how it affects us.

3. We need to realize that to be 'salt' is the command of our Lord.

4. To lose our influence because of an emotional reaction could very well have eternal consequences.

(Mat 5:44) "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;"

C. We are to take our treatment of others seriously

1. Doing the Lord's work involves working with people.

2. Our interaction with them will leave a lasting impression.

3. Not just of us, but of our Savior.

"O Christian, remember you bear His dear name, Your life is for others to view; A living example, men praise you or blame, And measure your Savior by you." Author unknown

II. Biblical Principles of Communication When Dealing With Others. (Ephesians 4:24-32)

A. Be Honest - v25

1. Speak: People cannot read our minds.

2. Speak truth: honesty is more than not lying, it is being open and truthful in all things.

3. Speak the truth in love: that means when we speak the truth, it should always be with other's best interest in mind.

B. Be Current - v26-27

1. "...don't let the sun go down upon your wrath..."

2. Failure to deal with things promptly will result in regret.

3. Do not let issues stack up until the problem has grown into a greater difficulty. (Matt 6:34) "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

C. Do not Attack People v29-30

1. Corrupt communication = rotten speech

2. Does nothing for positive value.

3. It only serves to tear down or rip apart.

4. We are to have edifying communication

D. Act, Don't React v31-32

1. We must learn through God's Spirit to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving.

2. Emotional reactions are of the flesh, and do not produce positive results in communication.

3. No matter how another person treats us, we do not have a 'right' to act any way but biblically!

III. Some Practical Suggestions.

A. Always maintain a courteous Christian attitude in dealing with others, whether they are Christians or not.

B. Consider what others want and not just what we want.

(Phil 2:4) "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."

C. Allow others to have their part in the solution.

(Rom 12:10) "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;"

D. Give others full credit for their work and achievement.

CONCLUSION:

Be firm, but kind...be strong, but gracious...be an influence for Christ for good, and not a poor testimony.