A friend of mine tells me that when his children were younger, they had many wonderful discussions at their dining table. There was just one rule concerning the conduct of their conversation--they called it the "TKN rule." Before saying anything you had to ask yourself three things: Is it True?, Is it Kind?, and Is it Necessary?--TKN.
He said that sometimes someone would begin to say something when another family member would then yell out "TKN, TKN!" meaning that it did not meet criteria for proper discourse at the table. He also tells me that there were many times when they would eat in silence simply because no one had anything to say that would fit within the TKN guidelines.
That got me to thinking. Maybe we should adopt the "TKN Rule" in all of our speech--especially when talking about others. Imagine what our communication with others would be like and what we would be portraying!
Is your speech always true? I have often told my kids and the kids I teach at church camp that if you do not know something to be true, then don't say it. Otherwise, you could be spreading rumors or gossip. Try from now on to speak only things that you know for a fact are true. "Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor" (Eph. 4:25).
Is your speech always kind? Do you use edifying and uplifting words when speaking to and about others? Too much of human communication is focused on the negative aspects of others and on tearing people down. Christians need to live and speak above that. Try from now on to speak good things about others, and when a correction or rebuke is required, deliver it tenderly and with a proper spirit. "Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt"(Col. 4:6).
Is your speech always necessary? Too many times we speak just to say something and end up saying many needless things. And too often, it is the unnecessary things we say that can be the most misunderstood and do much harm. Try from now on to speak only things that are necessary and beneficial. "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification" (Eph. 4:29).
Friends, if we all would adopt the "TKN Rule" in our lives, then all of our conversations would be most wonderful! "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things" (Phil. 4:8). Yes, meditate and speak on these things!