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The great Greek philosopher, Socrates is credited with introducing the Triple Filter Test. One version of the story is, a man, possibly a disciple of Socrates, came to the philosopher and said, “Let me tell you what I heard about one of your friends.”

Socrates said, “Hold on a minute. Before you tell me, it might be good to run it through the triple filter test. First, have you made absolutely sure what you are about to tell me is true?”

“No,” came the reply. “I just heard it, I do not know, I have not checked to ensure if it is true.”

“Okay,” replied Socrates, “Let’s try the second filter. Is what you are about to say something good about my friend?”

“No, quite the opposite…”

Socrates interrupted the man, not wanting him to share the news yet. “Okay, you do not know if it is true. It is not good. But you might still pass the test with the third filter. Is what you are about to tell me useful?”

“No, not really.”

“Well,” said Socrates, “If what you want to tell me is not true, good or useful, why do you want to tell me at all?”

Can you visualize a culture where this triple filter test was practiced in the workplace, churches, and in homes, even in our private casual conversations with friends and family? A culture with no gossip, backbiting, or insinuations about others. It sounds like a utopia, doesn’t it?

It all starts with one person, you. Will you, this week, commit to putting into practice the triple filter test before you speak and before you allow anyone to share information about others? With whom will you share this concept, perhaps even make a triple filter test a pact with?

George Yates is the Church Health Strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, assisting churches and individuals in pursuing God’s purpose for life. Learn more at ALSBOM.org/revitalization.

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