I believe Paul had tact in mind when he declared, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Col. 4:6). In a similar manner, Paul also said, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Eph. 4:29).
When we are trying to correct someone in sin (Gal. 6:1) we must leave them with the feeling that they are trying to be helped. How we approach someone will go a long way in determining our success. Solomon said, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver … A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word spoken in due season, how good it is! … Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad” (Pro. 25:11; 15:23; 12:25).
Being tactful, though, is not giving someone a “snow job.” For example, did you hear about the man who said, “Honey, I’m sorry I forgot your birthday, but how do you expect me to remember when you never look a day older?” This is not tact—this is lying!
Most of the time, our lack of tact begins when we engage our mouth before we do our brain. We should stop and think how would be the best way to say this or that – before we say it, for afterwards it is too late.
Many fail to realize that most things can be said in different ways and still not change the truth. If you call your wife an “old hen,” boy, are you in trouble – If you call her a “young chick” – she doesn’t mind.
When talking with others about their souls we must never speak anything but the truth, but we must always be careful how we speak the truth. We should speak the truth in love and with tact. It is important what we say and how we say it. Much good that could have been done has been destroyed because no tact was used.
Beloved, let us be very careful how we speak with one another.