Tact and Diplomacy

  Tact is a keen faculty of perception or discrimination of touch, likened to the sense of touch; a ready and delicate sense of what is fitting and proper in dealing with others so as to avoid giving offense or to win good will; skill or judgment in dealing with men or in negotiating difficult or delicate situations; the faculty of doing or saying the right thing at the right time. To be tactful is to be endowed with tact.
  Diplomacy is the art or business of the diplomat. Diplomacy is skill or address in the management of relations of any kind; artful management in dealing with others.
  Knowing how to speak and act intuitively is the fine art and faculty of tact backed by diplomacy, both of which stem from discretion honed to perfection. Tact is a law of doing, and a faculty. Diplomacy is the artful application of tact. A diplomat serves as an ambassador. The Lord and Master Jesus Christ was and is the Father’s diplomat, His emissary to the worlds of the universe.
  To properly study and understand Edna Lister’s laws on tact and diplomacy, you must also study all laws she taught pertaining to idle words, blessings and curses, the spoken Word, and speech in general.

Edna Lister on Tact and Diplomacy

Learn how to be tactful and diplomatic to make everyone else feel comfortable. When comfortable, they are happy and receptive.–Edna Lister, July 31, 1945

Always remember that if someone takes offense at anything you say, then find a better, smoother, more diplomatic approach and statement of the same offensive truth. You can always find a way to say it without being offensive.–Edna Lister, April 18, 1947

You are ambassadors of God’s harmony on earth.–Edna Lister, June 11, 1949

Your family will remember you as an ambassador of love or as an agent of discord.–Edna Lister, July 9, 1956

Love is the art of being agreeable, and this takes active cooperation, tact, diplomacy and putting the other fellow first.–Edna Lister, Courage via Faith, August 12, 1956

Discretion is watchful prudence over your emotions, thinking and imagination. It is your restraint, the brakes on what you think and feel. Discretion is the ability to distinguish between the fine shadings of truth, and confers the full liberty of deciding what you think as you think it. It is the basis of being able to hold to your choices.

Further, discretion is the art of diplomacy. All tact stems from discretion. By applying discretion, you never have to eat your idle words, since you speak none. You give no one a verbal club to wield on you, or a mesh to trip you.
  Discretion is the art of reaching the highest point of diplomacy; without it, you have no tact. All tact and diplomacy stem from discretion. Diplomacy is the perfect training for the stamina and ability to make the right choice.–Edna Lister, Your Capacity for Freedom, November 17, 1957

Discretion is the highest art of diplomacy. Without a fine sense of discretion, which is based in the timing of love, you have no diplomacy or tact.–Edna Lister, Triumphant You, November 25, 1957

Students in ancient mystery schools were not allowed to speak or comment for several years. This trained them to wipe from their minds the interpretations, opinions and beliefs of the outer world, which is why there are Neophytes in every Order. It’s a stage of preparation necessary to wipe out preconceived opinions, prejudice and intolerance. We still use this training. For example, diplomats attend special preparatory schools to learn diplomatic language and deportment, to separate them from previously learned interpretations.
  Words, spoken and written, are the symbols you use to express certain concepts that you then leave to the other fellow to interpret. Choose your symbols wisely. Nine-tenths of all difficulty in relationships stems from a negative tone of voice more symbolic to the listener than the actual words spoken.–Edna Lister, What Is Symbolism? October 6, 1959

The Father sends you forth in His name as an Ambassador of Light with limitless Power to uncover all darkness for His Light to lift.–Edna Lister, October 9, 1959

John the Baptist knew he was the herald of the coming messiah, and preached to attract throngs to hear about, watch for and meet him. John was heroic as Christ’s harbinger but tactless because he preached fire and brimstone destruction, the dreadful day of the Lord, unless Israel turned to the new messiah.–Edna Lister, What Is a Messiah? December 13, 1964

Diplomacy is skill in conducting relationships in the right way, by agreeing and adjusting. Diplomacy is necessary to handle family and business relationships. It is the art of applying what you know to what you are doing, the art of agreeing and adjusting to any situation or condition with This is good! Let there be Light!
  To be a diplomat, you must apply the laws you know in whatever situation you find yourself. Dealing with another’s disposition requires tact to make the other fellow happy. God says, Let there be Light! Stand where you are while I invoke the power of universe for you.—Edna Lister, Order and Diplomacy, June 4, 1966

God has all potential Power. He made you to be used by the Power. You are an instrument, continuously being played upon as in a symphony. Prepare your brain cells for Power to use. You are an Ambassador of Light to be used by all the Power of God.–Edna Lister, January 10, 1968

It is often wise to remain still and silent when people talk around you because it makes you an ambassador of Light with no inner conflict to spark any outer kindling.–Edna Lister, May 23, 1968

Top ↑

New Testament on Diplomacy

I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.–John 12:49-50

All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.–2 Corinthians 5:18-20

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.–Ephesians 6:18-20

If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.–James 3:2

Top ↑

Old Testament on Discretion

There is that speaks like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.–Proverbs 12:18

A wicked messenger falls into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health.–Proverbs 13:17

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven … a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.–Ecclesiastes 3:1, 3:6

Top ↑


Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of tact: from Latin the root of tangere "to touch"; meaning sense of discernment in action or conduct, diplomacy, fine intuitive mental perception. The Latin figurative sense was influence, effect.

Etymology of diplomacy: from Latin adjective diplomaticos, from diploma official document conferring a privilege.

Tact is a mental faculty.
Diplomacy is a law of doing.


Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed., Oxford University Press, 1971.

Related Topics

See Idle Words