A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
— Proverbs 15:1
President James Madison suffered from many ailments in his old age that required him to take a variety of medicines. A longtime friend sent him a box of vegetable pills, one of his own home remedies, and wanted to know if Madison saw any improvement by taking them.
It wasn’t long before the man received a carefully-worded reply back from Madison. It said,
“My dear friend, I thank you very much for the box of pills. I have taken them all; and while I cannot say I am better since taking them, it is quite possible that I might have been worse if I had not taken them.”
One of the biggest challenges we can face when we’re in a position where we have to have a hard conversation is doing so in a way that preserves another person’s dignity. Whether you’re declining an offer from a salesman or breaking some bad news to a good friend, how you say it will speak much more loudly that what you say.
But when it comes to having those tough conversations, it’s important you don’t shy away from what’s right. Maintain your commitment to the truth, but bathe the truth in love and grace, and let others know you sincerely care. Love others well by speaking what’s right in the right way!
Pray and ask God to help you bathe your words of truth with grace at all times.
Questions for Thought
When you think about having hard conversations with people, how do you feel about it? Do you like having those talks, or would you rather avoid them?
Who is one person in your life today with whom you probably need to have a hard conversation?