Practice what you (don’t) preach.
I saw this saying the other day and immediately liked it. It makes sense — much more sense than “Practice what you preach,” mainly because most of us are not preachers, and even if we are, we are rarely on a platform where we are expected to preach. That’s something that people don’t like about preachers is that they have a tendency to preach all the time. They like to speak loudly and make a point about everything. They carry around a portable pulpit. Most of the time we are in relationship with people, not in church, and preaching just doesn’t work in a relationship.
When I imagine preaching in a relationship, I envision a man yelling point blank at another person and poking them in the chest with his Bible. The poor victim of this kind of preaching needs a hanky just to wipe their face off when this is over. The Bible isn’t open. That’s because the preacher isn’t sharing anything out of the Bible, he is using what he knows about the Bible to set somebody straight on something. He doesn’t need the Bible open since he already knows what’s inside it (ha). Besides, it’s easier to poke someone with the Bible if it’s closed. If this is preaching, then practicing what you preach isn’t going to help anyone, because they turned your preaching off a while ago.
A much better picture would be two people sitting side by side with Bibles open on their laps, asking questions and pursuing answers together. The picture to keep in mind is that we are walking along beside each other looking at the same things, and maybe reacting to what we see differently, but respecting each other’s reaction. That’s a shared relationship. Even lovers don’t spend all their time staring at each other. They look out at the world, side by side, and share many of the same things.
Sandie, in a comment yesterday, mentioned that she was focusing this year on kindness, respect, and consideration. Think about it: those things don’t preach. Kindness, respect and consideration are what you show someone, not tell them. Show kindness. Show respect. Show consideration.
I’m meeting a friend this morning whom I haven’t seen in a long time. It will be nice to be side by side again and find out what he’s learned out of what he’s seen and done.
Show, don’t tell. And practice what you (don’t) preach, because it’s better if you don’t preach at all.