Friday, October 10, 2014

Actions Speak Louder than Words? Maybe Not as Much as You Think

Actions speak louder than words. This cliched statement is one that has almost universal appeal. This is great because it is generally correct. How you act does say more about you as a person (and your subsequent beliefs) than what you profess to believe.

But an important part of our actions are the words that we use in communicating to other people. Yes, I know that this semantical argument is a bit weird and maybe a tad confuzzling (love how spell check accepts that as a word). But there is a hint distinction between the words we speak to explain our viewpoints and the words that we use in every moment of our life that ultimately reflect our heart and attitude.

I won't belabor the point further since that is not the focus of this post at all. Nonetheless, I will point out that what I am writing now are words that express my opinions and fall into the "words" part of our magnificent cliche. If I complain about the quality of food here at Cedarville (totally guilty), those are words that more accurately fit into the "actions" part.

Without further ado, I will make the case that as far as our actions are concerned, the relevant words we use are a slightly better indicator of where our heart is. I will start by letting Jesus make my case for me from the context of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Listen to what he says in Matthew 12:33-37, 
"Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."

 Here's the thought I received as I read these words. The "actions" we make are far more deliberate and planned. It's "easy" to plan to spend time with the Lord, it's "easy" to plan time to serve others, it's "easy" to plan time to do actions that persuade you that you are ultimately pleasing the Lord.

Yet "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." The words you use to describe what you are doing usually are not quite as planned as what you are doing are. In the end, your words are more spontaneous, and thus more closely align with your heart.

And that is part of the discipline of a Christian life - to see how our heart is in relationship to the Lord, so that we can pray and work on bringing ourselves closer to the Lord.

To this end, actions speak louder than words that profess belief. But within the realm of our actions, the words we choose to describe speak volumes more than what we actually do.

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