In my world, when the phone rings at 3 AM, sorrow is guaranteed to be on the other side of the call. So when my phone startled me awake one October morning, I was hesitant to answer. But, I am glad I did. I could barely understand the words coming out of my friend, Sharon’s, mouth. Her sobs were heavy and I could sense the depth of her sorrow through the phone. Sharon tried her best to tell me her husband had betrayed her…he had been unfaithful. I told her I was on my way to her house but she insisted on coming to mine. She needed to be away.
Through her sobs, Sharon shared with me that for a long time she felt her husband didn’t TRULY love her. But, she didn’t want to believe it because he was always loving. After a few hours of reminiscing, Sharon realized that her husband’s actions spoke louder than his words. While he always had kind words for her, his actions spoke something different.
After Sharon left, my mind fell on my own hypocrisy (my words didn’t align with my actions) and of those around me. I could see how easy it would be to put more weight on people’s words than their actions. I once had a manager that was so kind to me in words but he would undermine me and ridicule me in front of others and he never truly supported me. But, I was convinced he was a friend. It was hard for me to reconcile that his words didn’t match his actions. After all, scripture tells us that “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34) and that “death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).
But those words are meaningless if they don’t match up with action. Love, true love, are seen in our actions. Here is what God says on the matter:
- Action speaks louder than words:
- My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. (1 John 3:18-19).
- But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves (James 1:22).
- Actions matter:
- Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone (James 2:17)
- Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:16)
So who we are and what we are TRULY about is more in our action and the fruits (love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control) our actions yield. Both Sharon and I know that living in God’s truth and abiding in His word is where we are safe. In fact, Sharon began dating again and was re-married a few years later. She harbors no ill will to her ex-husband. For a while, she was ashamed that she allowed herself to be deceived but eventually allowed that moment in her life to be a blessing and a lesson.