Show Me—Don’t Tell Me
"If you love me keep my commandments."1
"A ruthless businessman once said to author Mark Twain, "Before I die I mean to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I will climb Mount Sinai and read the Ten Commandments aloud from the top."
"I have a better idea," Twain remarked, "You could stay home here and keep them."
Talk is cheap. It's what we do that counts—not what we say—and when our words don't match our actions, we are, as the Apostle Paul put it, as empty vessels and clanging cymbals.
One of the best lessons I learned from one of my many teachers was the written comment he seemed to relish writing in bold red letters in the column of several of my written assignments. It simply read, "Show me. Don't tell me." I got the message!
I've never forgotten that lesson. It really applies to all of life's lessons we want to impart to others—especially to our children! Whatever we want to teach others we need to model ourselves before we can make any lasting impact on anybody else; otherwise what we say is unbelievable and the only person we deceive in the long run will be ourselves.
As a general rule, we teach best that which we ourselves most need to learn. And the place to begin modeling what we want to teach is at home!
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to model the kind of person you want me to be … a better father/mother/child … friend … partner … business person … and Christian so that people seeing what you have done in my life will want the same for themselves. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. John 14:15.