Anyone that knows me well knows that I truly believe actions speak louder than words. I'm a firm believer in the do what I do, not what I say idea. I know that I have to live by example, and I know I will make more mistakes than I care to admit. I also know that what I say has no meaning if it's not followed by authentic actions that reinforce those ideas.
I was recently on the web page of a group with whom I used to be associated. Their website spoke at length about inclusion, honest conversation, growth, acceptance, etc, etc, etc. But, having been a part of that group for a few months, I felt like the whole site was full of half-truths and misleadings (yes, I know that's not a real word!). I'm not going to go into details, but I've rarely felt so misled, betrayed and lied to as I was during my time with them.
So, being on their website (curiosity kills sometimes, right??!) made me start thinking about the whole idea of actions v. words. Sure, you can say you respect everyone and that everyone has an opinion that matters, but when push comes to shove, what do your actions reflect? Because, I won't remember words written on a paper - but I will remember the way I was treated and the way those I love were treated. And I will remember what you said and what you did that hurt. And, then, when you claim to be something else, I will have a very hard time believing you and trusting again.
I think that is even more true for Christians. What we say and what we do is a lot more visible to the world than our 'ideals and morals' that we hold up as being infallible. If someone says a good person doesn't cuss, then cuss, that hurts their cause. If someone says drinking is wrong, but then has a drink, that's hypocritical. If someone claims to be tolerant, but then gets defensive and angry at the first hint of dissidence, that's childish. It's important to remember, now more than ever, that people are watching what we do and how we act a lot more than their listening to what we say and what we claim to believe.
My goal is to be the same person in private that I am in public. It doesn't always happen, but I'm working on it. Am I perfect? Goodness, not even close! Do I mess up all the time? ALL the time! Do I want to be better at being just one version - the best version - of who I am? Yes.