Socrates, the great Greek philosopher, was once stopped by an acquaintance as he passed
through the markets. “I’ve something important to tell you,” he said. “It’s about your friend.”
“That’s very kind of you,” Socrates said. “But, don’t tell me just yet. I run all information
through the Three Filters Test to ascertain if I want to know it.” The man looked somewhat
puzzled as Socrates continued, “First is the filter of truth. Whatever you want to tell me, have
you seen or witnessed it first-hand?” “Umm…I actually heard it from someone,” the man said,
“and, it is from a trusted source.” “Alright. But that does not pass my first test,” Socrates added,
“since you don’t know whether it’s true.”
“Second is the filter of goodness. Is that a good statement you want to make about my
friend?” “Not really. That’s the reason I wanted—” Socrates interjected, “So, you want to tell me
something bad about someone but don’t know if it’s true.”
“The last is the filter of utility.” He continued, “Your statement about my friend, is that
going to be useful to me?” “Not really as such. I just wanted to share” “Well, if the information
is not necessarily true, it is not good, and, it is of no use,” Socrates concluded, “please, I don’t
want to know about it.”
The tongue is a small member that can cause big trouble (James 3:5-6). In Matthew
12:33-34, Jesus taught us that we will be known by our fruit, and the mouth bears the fruit of the
heart. I think all of us could do a better job of guarding our tongue. As Christians, there needs to
be a lot more thinking before we speak, and the words we speak need to be spoken in love.
~Brad Tolbert