What Do Our Actions Say We Are?
WARNING: This is a no-edit zone…
When I was very young, my mother had a saying about beauty: “Pretty is as pretty does.”
That was her gentle way of teaching me that a person can look beautiful, but if their actions aren’t also beautiful, then they become less pretty to us because their actions temper our perception of them.
As a young adult, I knew of a couple. He was quite a handsome man and his wife was what one termed “beauty-challenged.” She wasn’t attractive physically, and that was a fact of which she was painfully aware.
On meeting the couple many asked how a great looking guy could wind up with her. But on getting to know the couple, they wondered enough to ask how she wound up with him.
You see, his appearance might have been pleasant, but his actions were not. Because of his actions, it wasn’t uncommon to hear people wonder how they’d ever considered him attractive. It no longer seemed feasible to them that they ever had; because his actions altered their perception of his appearance. He no longer looked attractive to them.
Conversely, his physically unattractive wife was a sweetheart who charmed everyone. Her actions were not only pleasant but endearing. The tables turned, and she was the one perceived as beautiful. She truly did have a charming personality and a beautiful spirit that shone through in her every word and deed. Very thoughtful, considerate and kind woman.
This perception alteration applied to Christians can raise the same type questions in one’s mind. Like the charming but physically unattractive beauty, we should ask ourselves if our actions match our appearance. Do we accurately reflect in our actions, thoughts and deeds the tenets, beliefs and wisdoms of Christ?
It’s a question not only worth pondering but of studying. Of course, studying it no doubt will have us all cringing, since none of us are perfect. But by directive from Christ, it is our objective to attempt to be perfect. It was one of His charges to us, right along with love one another. So pleasant or not, comfortable or not, it’s something we should do.
As I think back over the span of my life, I recall incidents of Christians speaking unkindly of others. Doing things that even by loose standards are indisputably cruel, malicious, vicious and downright mean-spirited. Everything from gossip to deceit to hypocrisy to deliberately infringing on others’ rights and property. Dishonest behavior, unethical behavior. Un Christ-like behavior.
I’m sure we all can recall such conduct being engaged in by Christians as well as non-Christians. And I imagine God, from whom nothing is hidden, sees so much more than we see. Certainly he watches and weeps. Though He loves us anyway, His disappointment in those types of behavior must be staggering. I wonder how He stands it…?
The thought of bringing disappointment or tears to God’s eyes is worthy of pause and justifies serious reflection. In my eyes and heart it’s also worthy of our determination to stop and think before acting–and if we’re engaging in that which would cause these reactions in Him, to change our ways. As Christians we should strive to be more Christ-like.
Don’t misunderstand. I’m not judging anyone on anything. I am pondering my mother’s “pretty is as pretty does” philosophy in an apply it to Christians context. God sees beyond the physical. He knows our hearts. And so, in my humble opinion, it’s critical (and a step toward wisdom) to take a hard look at this.
Christian is as Christian does.
So what do our actions say we are?
Do they verify we’re Christians? Do we honor God and Christ?
If so, then great. But if not, well, actions do speak louder than works. And if that’s the case, then it seems obvious there’s spiritual work to be done…
c2008, Vicki Hinze