“. . . incapable of restraint.” That’s what was said of General George S. Patton.
Could he have been chosen as Supreme Allied Commander during World War 2 if he’d been able to control his mouth and work on his abrasive personality? We’ll never know.
Tact is for people who aren’t witty enough to be sarcastic.
Ever heard that? Ever said things like that? It probably sounded slick the first time you heard it. You may have even laughed, thinking, “I need to remember that.”
More to the point, have you ever found yourself being like General Patton?
Some think it’s okay to be mouthy and caustic, expecting everyone else to understand, using the teenager’s mantra, “It’s just the way I am.”
That may have worked once or twice when you were a teen. As an adult? Especially if you claim Jesus as your Savior and the Lord of your life?
Everyone around you has the right to expect to see the fruit of God’s Spirit active and growing in you: affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity, a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, a conviction that holiness permeates things and people, being loyal in commitments, not needing to force our way in life, and being able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. That list is in Galatians chapter 5.
More? You bet. “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with one another and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts . . .” Paul wrote that in Colossians chapter 3.
The truth is that tact is for people who care about others and understand that rash words and actions both can and do hurt. They hurt both the one being mistreated, and damage the character and Christian witness of the one being mouthy and letting their temper fly.
The sign of a Christian and friend is the ability to control the tongue, pen, keyboard, and smartphone. Note, too, that this has nothing whatsoever to do with your station in life, your education, or any position you hold.
No matter who you are, or who you think you are, there IS no excuse for bad behavior. If you wouldn’t want it said or done to or about you? Leave it alone.
So what do you think about General Patton? I don’t know, either – but I do know this. If you won’t control your acid tongue and toxic, unpredictable personality, 2022 will be a worse year than this one. And 2023 worse yet . . .
I don’t give advice. I do offer suggestions, however – and this is a strong, urgent one. Get out of the public eye, get alone with God, and let Him help you sort out why you’re such a rotten advertisement for Him and His people.
You can trust God to lovingly, firmly tell you the truth about yourself. Once that’s done, begin some serious Bible study about who, what, and how you’re supposed to be living and acting. God will never mislead you, nor lead you to do or be anything contrary to His Word.
What you do and who you become from that point is up to you.
© D. Dean Boone, December 2021