Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
For Christians, no matter what is thrown at us, we should respond as Christ did when he was challenged. Truth tempered with grace and a faithful patience knowing that you will be treating others better than they are treating you. That’s what the Saviour did for you and me.
For conservationists, no matter what is thrown at us, we should respond as Christ did when he was challenged. Now whether you’re Christian or not, for the sake of conservation, we should try to educate (edify) others about the value of conserving fish and wildlife and water by speaking to the issue at hand (not in generalities) with truth and grace and without condemnation of the person or any organization. Everyone wants a roof over their heads and food on their plate and all have fallen short of being perfect (none of us are plants); we are all sinners (consumers).
Why is this the first rule? It’s first because it determines whether someone will be listening to understand versus listening to formulate an opposing argument. The way the information is presented is percieved before the information is processed and the quality of the information, however accurate and precise, is secondary to the way the information is presented. The mindset and attitude of a person affects logical processing.
Why do we want them to listen to understand rather than listen to formulate an arguement? Simply because it is much better to change the way a person thinks than to only change the way they behave because their thoughts control their behavior even when no one is watching and no laws are present.
In a nutshell, Dispense truth gracefully with the patient expectation that you’ll be treating others better than they treat you. Yes, it’s easy to say, hard to do, but God loves creation and he will help you if you ask.