Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Beauty of Tact

Today Fetter Lane is offering a small meal for thought. It has to do with tact, the ability to discern an apt answer or response. Tact is an important virtue for a Christian; without it the believer may seem overly-harsh or boorish. Tact is a kiss of dignity and an embrace of grace.

There is a touching story in my copy of The Journal of John Wesley that we Christians can learn from so much. Read the words of tact that preserves the dignity of a lady and treats her with grace:

"Once when Wesley and one of his itinerant preachers were taking lunch at a wealthy home, an incident occurred which showed the great man's tact. The daughter of the house, a beautiful girl, was much impressed with Mr. Wesley's preaching. While conversing with the young lady, Wesley's itinerant noticed that she was wearing a number of rings; holding her hand up for Mr. Wesley to see, he said, 'What do you think of this sir, for a Methodist's hand?' (Wesley's aversion for the wearing of jewelry was well known.) The girl blushed and no doubt felt ill at ease, but with characteristic poise Wesley only smiled and said, 'The hand is very beautiful.' The young lady appeared at the next service without her gems, and became a devoted Christian."

Paul wisely remarked:

"Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." (Col 4.5-6 ESV)

May God help us all to learn when it is needful to say nothing more than, "The hand is very beautiful."