The Signals You Send
“To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful.”
–Edward R. Murrow
Children change everything. Have kids and your every word and behavior come under watchful eye.
If you’re a parent, you remember how your little toddler could parrot your every word—and more often than not, it was the careless word you let slip which the child would seize upon to perfect!
Then there’s the studious adolescent who recognizes from the backseat—and doesn’t hesitate to point out—the speed limit signs say 55, but you’re rolling … a little faster.
The last place you ever want to stand as a parent is on the platform of “do as I say, not as I do.” When you toe this moral precipice, you’re toast.
Perhaps you’ve read the “I’d Rather See A Sermon” poem by Edgar Guest. It observes: “The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear. Fine counsel is confusing, but example’s always clear.”
In the gospels we often read statements about Jesus like, “The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law” (Mark 1:22). It’s moral authority which is in view here—the people observed consistency between what Jesus said and what he did.
From there, words like these from Jesus carry weight: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34). Do what I say, because it’s also what I do.
Jesus’ consistent example and his moral authority allowed him to admonish: “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). Indeed, why would you?
Moral authority allows you to look your children, family members, friends, co-workers, and subordinates in the eye and say: “Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).
Those words were among the last the apostle Paul shared with the church at Philippi, who had long observed his words and deeds. To be able to say, consider “everything you heard from me and saw me doing” is a precious gift to give.
As Guest’s poetry rightly captured, “For I might misunderstand you and the high advice you give, but there’s no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.”
My prayer this week – Gracious Lord, I have seen and experienced the great consistency between your words and actions. May it be so, that others would experience such consistency in me! May the example of my life bless and encourage others!