And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col. 3:17)
I once went through the pain of seeing a very treasured relationship crumble to a shadow of its former self when the value we were giving each other in words was not reinforced by our actions. Words are seductive, easy to believe when they resemble what you want to hear. We can blind ourselves to reality for a time, but if words and actions do not match up, eventually there will be a price to pay.
If you are convincingly told that you are precious and valued, enough to open yourself to believe such a possibility, and are not treated that way, then slowly the ache of betrayal grows. These very same words that thrilled your heart before become hollow and bitter, falling flat because there is no substance behind them. True commitment, true devotion would not allow such a thing to happen. Sadly, the brokenness left by betrayal is more common than one would hope for.
I was later sobered to think that perhaps our Lord’s heart is broken in much the same way. Do our actions day to day match our words on Sunday? We file into church, and sing loudly and energetically about our love and devotion to God. We thank Him, praise Him and affirm our willingness to follow Him, then leave the building to follow our own desires throughout the week. Does God weep over us? Do we wound Him when we mouth the words of love and commitment fed to us by the church without having those words impact our life?
The pain I felt when my relationship was being remade into something more in line with reality is not pain I want to cause for anyone else, least of all my Lord and God. Yet I know that my actions and my words have not always matched up and do not always match up, particularly between what I say I believe as a Christian and how I live my life.
So I sit in anguish and say, “Lord—how can you forgive me? I do not value the things of Yours I claim to value! How can you stand to know me when I hurt you so?”
And He replies, “Would you forgive one you deeply loved and cared for? Knowing they were sincerely grieved by their actions?”
After thinking long, I would respond as He would and say, “Yes, I would.”
Dear God, I am sorry for the times when my actions and words don’t align. Show me how to love and forgive others when they do the same to me. Teach me and show me how I can honor you in word and deed.