249 – Correct by Teaching Indirectly

Say what you mean and mean what you say, but do so with charm and never say everything you think. Some ideas are foolish and you will disagree yourself after a few seconds, but you can’t take those words back.

Learn the art of indirection and implication. When someone is blatantly foolish, discuss abstract topics related more fundamentally to their error. Love “conceals” a sin, which means when someone makes a big mistake, help to heal the problem, don’t gossip, publishing and promulgating that person’s error. Don’t make the wound bigger; just help fix it.

Sometimes we can be blunt, other times we only need to drip small, relevant ideas in the form of unrelated advice or discussing topics on a broad or detailed level that no one else will recognize as relating to the topic at hand

Remember however, that when you solve a problem indirectly, you give up all claim to expect that other people understand you. If your purpose is to be clear, then be clear and literal. If your goal is to be diplomatic, then clarity is not your goal, so it can’t be your expectation either.

When a dog poops in the house, say, “No,” pick it up with a tissue, take it outside with the dog, place it on the ground, then smile and say, “Good dog.” This is the best way to potty train a dog because the dog wants to obey, but needs to understand the rules in order to obey them. Dogs and people share this ability to learn. Quietly doing a task the correct way, with minimal explanation, can be a respectful way to help other people learn.

If people don’t get your message, be more direct, but of course with charm.

When Simon the Pharisee harbored arrogance toward the woman washing Jesus’s feet in Simon’s house, Jesus addressed Simon’s error with a parable and a philosophical question. In the end, no one knew the relevance but Simon and Jesus. Jesus worded Simon’s teaching for everyone, “Those who have been forgiven much love much, just like this woman.” Neither depend solely on shooting straight nor using indirection; master both because each will have its day.

Proverbs 17:9, Luke 7:36-50