There are two kinds of light:
the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.
-James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
I got this quote in my email this morning, and had to think how true it is in the case of our words. This week I’ve watched a relationship crash on the rocks because of words spoken. The remains are probably recoverable, but the scars may be there forever. The words that were spoken were true–that wasn’t the problem–but they didn’t illuminate or enlighten. The speaker intended them for good–there was no malicious intent–but the words hurt.
It just makes me realize that all truth does not need to be spoken. Even though it is true, it may not be the particular truth that is appropriate for the situation at hand. I know that I am too often guilty of looking at things only from my own perspective, and from that, serious complications can arise. Sometimes the truth that is truly needed is a simple “I love you,” rather than an analysis of why the trial is happening or an attempt to place the blame.
I’m hoping that I can remember this. The fact that something is truth does not mean that it must be said. It may be too harsh in that particular moment, the glare that obscures rather than the gentle light that illuminates. Help my words, Lord, to be fitly spoken, always with grace.
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.
Prov 25:11 ESV
Let your speech be always with grace,
seasoned with salt,
that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Col 4:6 KJV