WORDS OR ACTIONS?

(September 5, 2021) Mama Lava shares this challenge…

Are you a word wrangler?

I am. Words intrigue me! In fact, a compliment like ‘Well said!’ is high praise which can make my whole day. That is why, when I recently read somewhere that ‘Well done’ is better than ‘Well said’, it really started me thinking.

Words or actions?
Both are critical for communication. Consider the artful quote by Samuel Beckett that says: ‘Words are the clothes thoughts wear.’

Words get our thoughts out of our heads and into an arena where they can be tangible to others. Words have the power to affect the world with ideas, sentiments, and information.

Actions accomplish what words can only suggest. They reveal true motives. ‘Actions prove who someone is, words just prove who they want to be.’ (Author unknown)

As much as I adore words, I can think of at least three reasons why ‘Well done’ is better than ‘Well said.’

1. Actions can be seen from further than words can be heard
 We all have an audience!

The people close to us can hear what we have to say. But there are those who watch from further away. They cannot perceive our words as they watch what we do. Our actions speak volumes to these precious people.

As the old saying goes: You are the only gospel that some will ever read.

2. Actions are often more carefully considered than words
Because actions take investment and energy, we don’t throw them around as recklessly as we might our words.

Careless whispers, and sudden outbursts are cliché, precisely because they’re quick and easy. Actions take more planning than reactions. They may not be as bountiful as words, but they can be more meaningful.

Mark Twain’s observation is very, very true: ‘Action speaks louder than words, but not nearly as often.’

3. Actions are indicators of the truth we believe
We can speak and write complete fiction, but we cannot live it for long. Eventually, hypocrisy catches up to us. If we chase after the ‘Well said’ moments and neglect the ‘Well done’, we are, as they say, all talk and no action. People see through us quickly.

DaShanne Stokes’ observation – ‘If your actions don’t live up to your words, you have nothing to say’ – is very challenging!

Focus on actions and please the Lord
Matthew 25:21 (emphasis mine) should challenge us all: ‘His lord said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.”’

I appreciate words. I like the way they come together to define the depths of what we know and feel. But communication is more than words, as the famous song rightly declares.

And at the end of our days, we do not aim to stand before God and hear ‘Well said, good and faithful servant.’ Personally, I’d rather receive ‘Well done’ than ‘Well said.’

Considering these three reasons why ‘Well done’ is better than ‘Well said’, I realise the caveat is in the word ‘well.’ It seems that ‘Poorly said’ could be less damaging than ‘Poorly done’ in many cases.

And, as aptly exhibited by my toddler grandkids, there are surely appropriate times to elevate words over action. Asking ‘May I please have a turn?’ is infinitely better than ripping a toy out of someone’s hands.

Words or Actions? Is it possible to focus on both? Maybe we should strive for words in action. What are your thoughts?

John’s advice is very clear, ‘Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth’ (1 John 3:18).
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Mama Lava believes in making the big world a bit smaller through connection. Believing that everybody deserves to be wrapped in maternal love when they need it, she regularly shares encouragements… telling life experiences from an unapologetically Christian point of view the way she sees it, just as a mother does, via her link, Mama Lava’s Back Porch (A Dose of Maternal Love).
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One comment

  1. I pray daily the Lord will help me ‘speak the truth in love’ (even if my words may at times be misunderstood) but I also agree, it would be good — and likely better — to strive for words in action.

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