Have you taken the triple-filter test?

A young man walked up to the learned philosopher Socrates saying, “Master, I have just heard something about your friend and want to share it with you.” Socrates replied: “Hold on a minute. Before you share with me what you have heard about my friend, I like you to pass a simple test. It is called the ‘triple filter’ test.”

The young man curiously listened as the philosopher spoke. “Before you talk to me, take a moment to decide what you are going to tell me. The first filter is ‘Truth’. Are you absolutely sure that what you are going to tell me is True?”

Feeling uneasy, the man replied, “I’m not sure but I just heard it from someone.”
Socrates responded, “Well, if you are not absolutely sure if it’s the Truth, then take the next test. Is there any ‘Goodness’ in what you are going to tell me about my friend?”
Feeling more uneasy the man said, “No. There is actually nothing good to tell you about what I heard.”

“So you are not sure of the ‘Truth’ and you find no ‘Goodness’ in what you heard,” replied Socrates. The philosopher continued, “Now, the third test is to reflect if there is any ‘Usefulness’ in what you are going to tell me.”

The man placated and replied, “No, there is no ‘usefulness’ in what I want to share with you.”
Immediately Socrates quipped, “So, if you want to tell me something that you are not sure is the ‘Truth’ and there is neither ‘Goodness’ nor ‘Usefulness’, then you rather not share anything with me at all.”  The man walked away enlightened.

A careful reflection and analysis of our daily conversations will reveal that we are invariably talking about someone else but the health of the conversation can be measured by the ‘triple filter’ test.
Gossip and character assassination, whether at home, the neighbourhood, the workplace or in community living always fails the triple filter test.

Jesus was subject to gossip and character assassination all through His three-year ministry but was never shaken because He spoke Truth, Goodness and Usefulness to people.

 Saint Paul in his letter to the Philippians instructs us, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or   praiseworthy – think about such thing.” (Philippians 4:8).

Motivational writer Steve Maraboli in ‘Life, the Truth and Being Free’ writes: “How would your life be different if…You walked away from gossip and verbal defamation? Let today be the day…You speak only the good you know of other people and encourage others to do the same.”
Make the triple-filter test a habit, you will make your life more meaningful and the lives of others as well.

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