Facta Non Verba
A first century rabbi told a story about two brothers, both of which were told by their father to work in the vineyard. One said he would . . . and didn’t. The other said he wouldn’t . . . and did. One lesson from this parable is that actions are more important than deeds.
Facta Non Verba is an ancient Latin proverb translated: Acts Not Words. Words are, without question, important. But if one’s actions belie one’s words, especially consistently, the speaker is not to be trusted or believed.
Everyone has occasional lapses. We all make mistakes. The issue becomes critical when words over actions become a way of life. The issues vary, and some are more important than others.
One might be thankful for material blessings and verbalize the important of sharing, particularly with those in dire straits. If it’s possible, but nary a dime is contributed to organizations assisting the needy, words about caring for the latter disappear like smoke from a campfire.
One might communicate to me that our relationship is quite important to him/her. But if contact is initiated by that one (letters, phone calls, e-mails, visits) on average once a year, I’m left seriously considering just how much the relationship is truly valued.
If one verbalizes the positive significance of honesty but cheats on taxes, occasionally shoplifts, regularly reneges on promises made, etc., the actions reveal much more about the person’s character than a world-class treatise written on integrity.
Actions speak louder than words. I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day. I don’t believe what you say; I believe what you do. And a host of other quotes reinforce the cruciality of deeds backing up talk. Never is this more important than applying it to human relationships. Facta Non Verba.