“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now” (John 16:12).
What we say is important, but when we say things may be just as important, maybe even more so, than what we say.
Jesus had much to say to His disciples. All of it was needed, yet he withheld some things. Jesus had this exquisite sense of timing that guided all of His teaching. He knew that it was not truth alone that changed people, but rather truth spoken at just the right time. When a steel column is subjected to excessive weight that it cannot bear, it bends and collapses. An ill-timed word may do the same to a person’s soul.
Every person is like a unique book, meant to be studied. I will not be able to know how much another person can bear unless I ask questions to learn about him. I want to know his background, his God-given design, and his quirky idiosyncrasies. I want to understand his heart.
Then, when I feel compelled to tell my friend a truth that I know might sting him, I may say to myself, I am going to tell him the truth—but not quite yet.
And that’s OK.