The louder voice of action shouting down the quiet voice of words serves as a common reminder to act wisely and charitably. But, the stronger teaching might impel us to listen to the actions of others more carefully than we listen to their words. If we learn the art of listening to action, we might quickly improve our ability to speak the language of action more fluently. Human language and friendship works the same way: Listen first.
If we listened action more than words, politicians wouldn’t get away with lying via “effort”. Bad companies wouldn’t be able to cover their tracks with deceptive marketing. And, we wouldn’t spend as much time arguing with friends.
Think about the times your friendships have been strained by conflict. The neighbors won’t control their dog, it barks everyday, and one day bites. A simple conversation in the beginning makes sense. The neighbors make a promise to control the dog, but don’t. More conversation isn’t the answer. Their actions spoke, but too many follow the foolishly well-worn path of over-beaten dead horses. Take a hint. Get the message. The neighbors aren’t going to control the dog. Get wise before someone gets bitten.
Religious, social, and sales organizations speak the same “action” lingo. From leader to pawn, when people announce through their actions that you don’t agree, don’t go to committee; hold one, single conversation, then move on. Your response could include taking a witness, but no more than once.
When the pastor won’t preach Jesus without preaching tithes for himself, two days is more than enough time to converse and get out—and certainly more than enough reason to make your reasons public. If the MLM won’t focus on sales through competitive prices, but keeps promoting “sales tools” to help win the uphill battle that those inflated prices created, take the hint: You’re not selling soap and kitchenware; you’re selling a set of self-perpetuating teaching tools.
Criminals know that wrong is wrong. People don’t take dishonest action because they haven’t listen to you enough; they take dishonest action because they don’t care about others. Hear the shouts of action, then let your own actions respond: gentleness once, witness, then act.