“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity
under heaven…a time to be silent and a time to speak…” Eccl. 3:1,7
Timing is an essential ingredient of effective communication. If possible, do not discuss sensitive matters with someone who is tired, worried about other things, or in a bad mood. Nor should you approach someone about an important concern unless you will have enough time to discuss the matter thoroughly.Adapted from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 256.
Food for Thought
How often do we pursue peacemaking according to our clocks instead of seeking the Father’s timing?
Ken wisely reminds us of the word sensitive. Not everything is of a sensitive nature, but many things are. And it’s those sensitive matters that require timely approaches. You cannot always wait until someone is well-rested, not worried about anything, and in a great mood; to some degree, that’s what heaven will be.
But when you visit a hospital room, do you just walk right in on the patient and announce your presence? No. Why? You want to be sensitive to whether they might be sleeping or talking with their physician. Regardless of what your clock says, if they’re sleeping, you come back later. When your pastor is preaching on a Sunday morning, do you stand in the wings returning calls on your cell phone? No (at least let’s hope not). Why? You want to be sensitive to others around you and what God may be trying to tell them–not to mention yourself. Regardless of the calls your phone display may indicate you’ve missed, the timing is not right.
We must be careful, however, that sensitivity doesn’t keep us always silent– there is a time to speak. And sometimes, God’s timing is an invitation to rely on His strength and His will and speak into a matter, even when we may feel it’s not time. Hyper-sensitivity allows peacefaking to thrive, but not peacemaking. As peacemakers, we’re called to redeem the time. And that means staying aware of a different time zone–God’s.