“He said things like, he couldn’t live without me and that he had fallen deeply in love with me.”
This was my mom telling me about a letter that her college sweetheart – ex-sweetheart – once wrote to her.
“And to think that he wrote that a few days after cheating on me.”
I’ve been raised to believe that actions speak louder than words. Which is funny, I’d say, because as an aspiring writer I am surrounded by words. I crave the chance to express myself on paper and yet, when it comes to real-life situations, I am still more convinced by actions.
As much as my family tells me they love me, I understand it most by how my mom snuggles and hugs me, how my older brother makes time to catch up with me one-on-one when I’m home, how back when I was looking at universities my dad researched each one and created an Excel spreadsheet to document their pros and cons. It’s that extra effort, besides just, “I love you,” that leaves its mark on me the most. What is conveyed behaviorally speaks more truth than what is conveyed verbally.
But then I’ve heard a pastor say, “When God speaks, it’s reality.”
Well, the Bible is called, ‘the Living Word.’ It’s made up of God’s words and nothing could be more truthful and more reliable. But at the same time, because of our limited human perception, I feel like we can’t be convinced of its ‘livingness’ unless we see it translated in actions. If we encounter Christians who are not compassionate, who don’t follow Jesus’s commands to love one another as yourself, the Bible’s moral authority appears lifeless; the commands become only words on a page.
We recently learned about this at church when studying the book of James. “What’s the use of saying you have faith if you don’t prove it by your actions?” (James 2:14).
I’m blessed to go to a church of fellow Christians who prove their faith to me every time I speak with them. A woman I know devotes her time to soup runs, outreach, and other ways of serving God outside of Sunday mornings. A friend of mine asks about my week and comforts me if I divulge any personal struggles. Whenever I bring friends along to church, they’re greeted with a warm welcome from everyone we meet.
Although the Bible is not made living by those who live by it – it’s made living by God, by the reality of His existence and His authority over morality, history, and truth – the Bible’s power can still be demonstrated by how modern-day individuals put themselves and their desires second and respond to what God tells them to do, such as loving one another as yourself (Mark 12:31).
So write those cards, send those messages, say those words! But remember to follow up with a love that is active.