“Actions Speak Louder than Words”
I have very mixed feelings about this saying.. It has been around for who knows how long and basically embedded into every American mind. I respect this quote but so many times, myself included, people, especially Christians, can use this as an excuse. I’ll explain what I mean in a little bit. But first, let me boost this quotes confidence before I wreck it.
One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing individuals who claim to follow Jesus living completely contradictory lives than to which He has called us. I’m not saying that every Christian should be perfect, I am so far away from perfection. However, there is a line between someone who lives like they are on a mission spoken directly to them from the Lord (which is true among all believers) and someone who posts a bible verse on their Twitter or Instagram every once in a while because that’s what every “good Christian” should do but go on to live a life fueled by their own desires. This saying speaks directly to this. If you claim to be following Jesus but not actually doing anything to advance his kingdom, you might want to check yourself. The scripture explicitly calls us to be people who ACT OUT the law of the Lord. In James 1:25 it says “But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing”. God calls to a life that is a reflection of the gospel to everyone around us; that the gospel is our highest hope and our greatest treasure. So in this sense, I think this quote has major weight in how we should think about how we act and how our actions might not be reflecting what we are saying.
In another instance, I see so many people living a “moral” and “good” life (according to our earthly standards) but later come to find out they didn’t even know Jesus. They were just “good people”. So we cannot just come to the conclusion that just because someone is a decent human and volunteers at a shelter once a month that they are a disciple of Christ. CHRISTIANS, we can’t keep looking at people who “do good” and rob them of the fact that they need Jesus as much as the next person.
However, there is a huge flaw in this saying that should be uncovered. Yes, the Lord calls us to do what He tells us to do, but it can’t just stop there. I remember growing up and asking someone “did we do enough to show them the love of Jesus? Do you think they got it?” in the context of someone passing away. And they responded “yes, you did enough. He has watched you live your life and how you chose to live your life. He saw the gospel through your life”. While I do think it is extremely crucial to be able to look at the way someone lives their life and see the gospel played through, sometimes it’s not enough. After that passing, a thought kept eating away at my heart…
I DIDN’T SAY ANYTHING.
I never gave this person the decency of verbally proclaiming the gospel message so he could make a clear and direct decision on whether not he would accept this free gift that was offered to him. Now, I have sought forgiveness for this and my guilt was taken away from me, but I don’t want myself or any of you to make that same mistake. We can live the most righteous life we possibly can but we still wouldn’t be living to our full expectation if we do not speak the life-giving gospel of Jesus. Jesus commands us to use our words, in Mark 16:15 (also known as the great commission), to “go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation”. If you didn’t catch that, Jesus said PROCLAIM. The greatest commission Christ gave us before ascending into heaven is that we should go tell all of the creation of the undeserving gift Jesus gave to humanity. Do not make the excuse that “our actions speak louder than our words” so there is no point in verbally speaking the gospel. That is deceitful and confusing.
Even in the Old Testament, in Ezekiel 37, we see the Lord commanded Ezekiel to prophesy over a valley of dry bones and command those bones to take on flesh again and live. He spoke to the dry bones to come alive and to be filled with the breath of the Lord, and it was so. If Ezekiel had not done what God commanded him to do, speak to these dry bones, there would not have been a miracle that took place that day. There would not have been the opening of graves. So who are we to disregard the commandment of the Lord and not speak life into dry bones in our lives. We have a life-giving gift that should be given the decency and respect to be spoken over people who do not know Jesus.
Lord, I pray that we will be bold with our words. I pray we continue to live out Your gospel, but we also don’t miss the step to open up our mouths and speak the powerful message of Jesus. Help us be intentional and courageous.