Summary: Christian witness need not be confrontational or one punctuated with carelessness. We should exercise care and tact in our witnessing.
"The Lord Yahweh hath given me the tongue of them that are taught, that I may know how to sustain with words him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as they that are taught. The Lord Yahweh hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away backward." Isaiah 50:4,5
Tact may be defined as the propensity to "say the right thing at the right time, in the right way and to the right person." No one in life has ever earned a fortune by opening his or her mouth a mile but tact has the ability to even win foes. The prophet Isaiah in this text uses the Rabbinic school setting and language to convey an important truth about tact. He points to God as the Source of all wisdom - as the Great Rabbi from whom we need to learn the language of the "taught" or the learned as the Authorized version puts it. It is God who gives us the ability to decipher the "how" or the method to "sustain with words him that is weary." The kind of words spoken by the "taught" then must be words that inspire hope because the object is "one who is weary." And yes we live in a world of weary men - weary with addiction, broken homes, unemployment, disease, insecurity... and the list is long, yet amidst all these the Christian soldier must know how to speak a right word - a word of encouragement and hope to one who is weary. That's our mission - to bring hope to a hopeless world that is ravaged by sin. The hope of a better world that is soon to be ushered in with advent of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Then it is imperative for us to learn how to teach and "speak truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15) - tactfully knowing eternal destinies of the souls we witness to are at stake. This does not in anyway mean we water down the message - but the method should be one that is punctuated by the Christian virtues of love and acceptance. We should preach boldly like Richard Baxter who said, "I preached as never sure to preach again and as a dying man to dying men." Yet boldness should not be equated with arrogance or unnecessary confrontations. Rather a spirit of uncompromising and considerate love will certainly win souls for God's Kingdom. Each day our ears should be open to the bindings of the Holy Spirit as we study our Bibles prayerfully to learn from our great Rabbi the tactful "language" of the learned that is “good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29).
May God grant us such wisdom. Amen.