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Three Questions to Filter Your Words With

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Three Questions to Filter Your Words With

By Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

A filter is any device that removes unwanted material. For example, an oil filter for a car lets the good oil pass through while blocking the crud and removing impurities. The muck and guck are detrimental to the engine and undermine the effectiveness of the motor.

Some of us need a filter on our speech when we communicate. When we lack a filter we undermine our effectiveness in communicating with people, whether those are family and friends, coworkers and neighbors, or acquaintances and strangers.

What is this filter? It consists of asking three questions before communicating in person, over the phone, or in writing.

  – Is that which I’m about to say true?

  – Is it kind?

  – Is it necessary?

When we do not ask these three questions, we oftentimes end up saying something that is untrue, unkind, or unnecessary. This is comparable to letting the muck and guck pass with no filter.

In the Bible we learn that we are to speak the truth in love, and there is a time to speak and a time not to speak. Speaking necessary truth in a kind way is basic to all communication between people.

We also have an eternal motive to filter our words. Jesus said in Matthew 12:36, “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.” Our useless and empty comments do not slip by the heart of our heavenly Father.

Communication consists of informing, affecting, or persuading. By that I mean, we inform the mind, which we might call the FYI. We affect the emotions, or affect the affections. This is the heart-to-heart sharing. And the final reason to communicate is to persuade the will, which we might refer to as the sale’s pitch or action item. In other words, we are trying to influence the other to do something.

Let me give some examples of people who did not filter their statements. I want you to see what they did right but also where they erred.

(For the rest of the helpful article, go ahead and click over to the original page.)


If you would like help with your filter or how to deal with other people and their lack of a filter, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.