We live in a society that often preaches a rather peculiar social axiom of “actions speak louder than words.” And while I understand the intent behind such sentiments, the fact that this gets thrown around more often than it should tends to bother me. If any of you after have seen a particular movie with Eddie Murphy, entitled “A Thousand Words,” you know exactly what I’m talking about. It for those of you who haven’t seen it, and this movie Eddie Murphy portrays a fast talking, aggressive, and deceptive literary agent. When his character tries to verbally seduce his latest literary conquest, a magical bodhi tree binds itself to him, in order to teach him the value of carefully chosen words coupled with ever so precious contemplative silence.
This reminded me that actions without words don’t necessarily say much. Conversely, words without actions say just as little. I’m not a very religious man, anyone who knows me will tell you that I haven’t been to church since I was denied entry into seminary for a very stupid and superficial reason. But Jesus did have some nice little reminders that we would do well to remember in American society particularly. To paraphrase, he reminds us not to swear by heaven on earth, because they’re part of God’s dominion, so we should simply let our yes mean just that, and our no likewise, simply be a no. When we live by this simple rule, there can be no such thing as lofty promises that are never kept. When we say something, we should allow our actions to flow from our words, so that we are living in accordance with our most authentic self. Likewise, if we do something for example, to show someone that we care, why not add just a little frosting to the cake with some sweet words to make it all the more delicious for those we care about.
I don’t remember who said this, but someone once said “A sage speaks because he has something to say, a fool speaks because he has to say something”.