We All Act According to Our Beliefs
Leslie and I were having an interesting conversation with a gentleman and his wife in a waiting area on our return trip from Japan.It was a congenial conversation about his work, building materials and he and his wife’s trip to Tahiti.
In our conversation I had not divulged that I was a pastor. It usually changes the tone and mood of a conversation almost immediately an I like people to feel comfortable around me and most people who don’t know me, Ha! Don’t act normal around me when they know what I do. Often when people know I am a preacher they don’t realize or don’t care what my occupation is.
It was about an hour into our conversation that the gentleman finally decided to ask me what iI did for a living and I lied – no, I didn’t lie – I told him that I was a pastor. Everything Changed. He apologized for some of his language and tried to change topics to things that were more religious and the conversation which had been fluid now became labored. Previously, we had no problem engaging in conversation until he knew that I was a pastor.
At that point I just plainly asked them if they believed in Christ to which he replied that he and his wife were believers. After that he wanted to steer away from any religious conversation because he said something to the effect of “well you know that politics and religion are two things that you should not be discussed.” I responded with, “how can they not be discussed since most everything we do is done according to our religious beliefs and/or political beliefs?” The statement was and has been irrelevant since it was first conceived, but many people have used it to avoid discussing important issues.
Some would say that such topics are too personal. Beliefs are personal but they are not required to remain hidden. we must not be afraid to express to others what believe to be valuable. Our country was founded on the right to express what we believe, especially our faith.
Besides, you really can’t hide what you truly believe because your actions will demonstrate your beliefs. They affect your decision making process. So even though you may not talk about them; you are still communication them in other ways that reveal your values and priorities. As believers, we are told to love God and love others and when we do love others we demonstrate our love to God. We must never forget that our actions will speak more loudly than our words even can. If we say we are Christians then we need to act accordingly. As believers we need to be concerned with others and in our concern we are to demonstrate the love of God to them.
Here is a hard question that we should as ourselves: “What do my actions convey about my beliefs? A friend of mine said to me, “I don’t care what people think, I can do whatever I want. It is between me and God.” To some extent that is true, but scripture teaches us that we are to avoid the appearance of evil. If what we do can be misconstrued, then we hurt our witness to the world. Are you willing to sacrifice your rights so that others might believe?
Finally, Paul said, “…All things are permitted for met to do (concerning eating meat offered for sacrifices) but not all things are beneficial for me. [Dave’s paraphrase]” The application being that, I know that God knows and understands, but I choose not to hinder others whose faith ( or lack there of) is weaker than mine, aka; I surrender my rights for the sake of another’s belief. Paul realized that his beliefs are a witness to others through his actions and he doesn’t want to do anything that creates a barrier between them and faith. Our actions will always speak louder than our words and it is from them that most people will determine what we believe and whether to believe us when we share the truth of Christ with them. Pastor, Dave Rowser.