I believe most of us would agree, after giving it some thought, that our values are reflected in our actions. That is, our behavior demonstrates what we value and what are our priorities much better than what we say.
If this is true, then why do we so often fail to see the contradictions between what people say and what they do; and also fail to see the contradictions in our own lives? Several examples….There are a large number of voters in Kansas who say that they will base their vote this election on the fact that the candidate is “Pro-Life”. This group says their chief value is “life”, in this case “the life of the unborn child.” That’s their choice and I might state that, except in special cases such as incest and rape I agree . However, if they are “Pro-Life” I see a huge contradiction between that value and their actions, because once the baby is born these same people are the same ones who lead in the defunding of early childhood education, withholding medical care from thousands of children in Kansas by not extending the federal Medicaid program, cutting funds for classrooms, paying below poverty wages to working parents—–all of this leads me to think they are not “Pro-Life” but they are “Pro-myself making money”. Their true value is “money” not “lives of children”. Their actions demonstrate their real value. Once the child is born they lose all interest in children’s welfare as they grow into adulthood. That costs money!
Another example: Most of us would agree that one of our values is honesty. We appreciate it in others. We practice it ourselves. We see it as the basis of a society that works. Now, answer truthfully—-if you are in a checkout line and you give the clerk a twenty dollar bill and get change for a fifty dollar bill, what do you do? Do you pocket the money and smile about the windfall? Or do you tell the clerk about the mistake and get the correct change? What you do determines whether you value honesty or money the most! Same is true on Income Taxes—-do we ever “forget” to report some things, or “inflate” an expense that would be difficult to verify? The difference in value here again is honesty or money? Which is it for you? Which for me?
This same principle holds true for us in the practice of our Christian faith. Do we agree that a Christian’s values should be attached to the Great Commandment of Jesus that says “You shall love the Lord Your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength; and your neighbor as yourself?” Love God—–love your neighbor as you love yourself. But do our actions show our love for God and our neighbor? Do our actions from day to day demonstrate that? In what way? Name a few of those actions? If we’re having trouble doing that, then we need to ask ourselves this question How many of our actions show that our love for ourselves trumps our love of neighbor? How many of our actions show our love of ourselves trumps our love for God?
If people are to be attracted to become followers of “the Way” of Jesus the Christ they will be attracted by the actions of Christians “walking that Way” in their daily lives and not by the words of those calling themselves Christians who tell them of their beliefs.
Someone has said: “What you do is what you believe. Everything else is just religious talk”.