The Triple-Filter Test

A perverse person stirs up conflict, 
   and a gossip separates close friends. ~ Proverbs 16:28

In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”

Who are YOU reflecting?

“Hold on a minute,” Socrates replied. “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. That’s why I call it the triple filter test. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”

“Well, no,” the man said, “actually I just heard about it and…”

“All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now, let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?”

“Umm, no, on the contrary…”

“So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about my friend, but you’re not certain it’s true. You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left—the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?”

“No, not really.”

“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true, nor good, nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”


One thought on “The Triple-Filter Test

  1. All the devil needs to destroy unity and love is a good gossip or two. Gossip was invented by the adversary. All who gossip are doing the devil’s work. Gossips are liars. They deal in bad news. Their goal is destroying that which is good with evil. There is a special place in hell for gossips. Churches, marriages, and friendships have been destroyed by the little unseen weevil of gossip which seems to predominate from little fallen daughters of Eve obsessed with tattling in secret that which is most often untrue, bad, and useful only for evil purposes. Adam’s sons are likewise guilty, though, as their solemn judgmental pronouncements are usually spoken with gravity behind closed doors under high hats and infested prideful attitudes while so cocksure of their position they do the opposite of the Lord’s work in His name while protecting their own evil hearts and dominion.

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