The Apostle Paul warned us to “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders, making the most of every opportunity for the days are evil, let your conversations be full of grace, seasoned with salt so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:5-6)
Paul never denied the sin of people or sin in the world, but he cautioned us to be wise and just foolishly say whatever, however, or in anyway we just thought was best, because we all have been wrong! I have found many times as a rule of thumb the response that usually “feels” the best and seems to come more naturally and easy is usually the worst one, and the only reason it felt good is because my sinful nature was being fed in that moment. It can be easy to miss the way and the safe guard is to continually examine our hearts and weigh them against Scripture- not feelings, not rationality, nor reason or what we think “The person needs to hear” but what we know for certain the Holy Spirit is pressing on our hearts in accordance to scripture.
Reason, Emotion, and other aspects are fine provided the Holy Spirit and Scripture supports them but by themselves these are not going to be accurate indicators that what you are saying is an impulse of the flesh or prompting of God. This is why I think it is so easy and dangerous to just open our mouths without clearly discerning and evaluating because we may be fooled just to think that since Christ saved us that we will never be foolish or fall to the wrong impulse to say this or that. When we all think we “need to say this” or “they need to hear this” we just need to press pause and think about whether our hearts are pure and our responses are accurate as well as appropriate at that moment.
It is I believe possible to say the right thing at the wrong time, the right thing in the wrong motive or just flat out speak foolish with foolish motives at foolish times.
We just need to be careful because the whole non Christian world has a magnifying glass on our lives, and some actually are waiting like the Pharisees did with Jesus to set word traps, others are resentful because of what they thought was just “Christian behavior” but left them not wanting to be like that because it was not Spirit filled Christianity shown to them characterized by the spiritual fruit of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control”(Galatians 5:22) but rather the fleshly actions of a carnal Christian, Christian in a moment of weakness and sinful error, or just flat out a “tare/weed among the wheat” (Matthew 13:24-30)
Another good verse that can act as a filter for what we say is
(Philippians 4:5) Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Gentleness is often used interchangably with meekness, which is not being a weakling or pushover, but it has power and strength under restraint. Example in every day life I once saw was I came to an intersection and there was a police car driving toward my direction, I was driving the opposite direction toward the police car and we both came to an intersection, yet I was going to make a left turn and it was a green light so I knew he had the right of way, but he signaled through the police car and let me go first instead. Technically, he had both the right and authority to do what he wanted, but in meekness he yeilded his turn for me to go on first.
Now of course I do not know exactly the motive, but I can tell you meekness looks this way, being able to get our way or possibly win an argument or what not but not using our strenghth or advantage to our own advantage. Just because you can get this, win a fight or do that, does not mean you choose to! Another example is meekness is choosing to not “beat someone” in a argument if it means them ultimately their greater good- Jesus dying on the cross, he could have taken matters into his own hands and destroyed those who were crucifying him. (Matthew 26:53) “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?”
Jesus chose suffering though it could be avoided because it meant saving us.
Gentleness and meekness are not cowardice because true gentleness is not afraid of confrontation when it is needed but it is really only willing to only offend when necessary, not just to win a fight or argument so it can feel smart and satisfied with a win or get even.
There is a time to be direct and confront but never to do so out of wrong motives that are self centered and strokes for our pride.