“A man’s word should be his bond. In fact, a man’s word is the measure of his character. If he gives his word to someone, he is making a covenant with them.” Rick Johnson.
In a society which values saying the right thing, above meaning what you say, this statement struck a chord as something which has become lost through the ages. We only have to look at the current political situation to see that not everything we hear is a genuine statement. People would rather been seen as being a “nice guy” than “honest”!
I think we have all been around those people who say what they thought someone wanted to hear, and can’t follow through on it, because there was not reality behind what was said – only a sugar-coated monologue. There’s no genuineness behind who they are verbally portraying themselves to be. I have learnt the hard way, the importance of words and actions working together. That there are those with the gift of the gab, but the character behind the gab is unable to correlate his actions with his words. He or she might as well be like a clinging cymbal….!
This has been used, throughout the ages, as a form of control and manipulation, as some people find it much easier than others to flatter with the mouth, or say anything to achieve their end goals. In this sense, I completely agree that our words are a measure of our character.
The Bible says, “you will recognize them by their fruit.” (Matthew 7:20 TLV)
Many of us are too quick to listen to the words being spoken, without actually waiting to study the fruit….and by the time fruit is produced, we may be stuck in a business deal which failed to deliver, or oppressed by falsehood in a bad relationshi whch completely undermines who God made us to be.
I know in my own experience, I (finally!!?) reached a point when it hit me like a ton of bricks, that actions have to speak louder than words, because too often, talk is cheap.
The flip side of this, obviously, is whether our word is our bond? Do we ever say what is expected, or what we think someone wants to hear? Can it be said we measured well by our words?
I once heard the story of an old woman who refused to speak unless it was through, “Psalms, hymns” (Ephesians 5:19) or other edifying words. I tried it for a while, briefly. And there was a difference in how I approached examining my speech, as I was more conscious about what I allowed to leave my mouth…..honestly, some of the thoughts which don’t make it past the gatehouse of my lips are shocking, if not crazy and ingenious!
If more politicians were mindful of their word being like a bond, if more boyfriends realised the strength of character in following through on what they say, if more husbands recognised the damage they can inflict with words which are unfruitful, if more of us realised the depth of our words, what would our world look like?
If we realised the importance of our words, and allowed what we say to become a reality which bears fruit, so they are not merely empty promises or just empty chatter, it would be easier to walk tall. Why do I say this? Because we don’t have to hide behind our words, but find our words become superfluous in the resounding “noise”of our actions. We can walk tall knowing our word really is our bond, and people feel safe talking with us, because we will always follow through on what we say, no matter how small it is. We can walk tall knowing that our own words are not going to trip us up. We can walk tall knowing that the light of Jesus will be seen in what we don’t say as much as what we do say.
While honour is given to those who speak from the front….so to speak…. Maybe we should learn to honour those whose actions are speaking much louder than the most well-delivered sermon.