I don’t know about you, but small things to me matter. There are some who count quantities or measure the size of a gift/act of kindness. For them, those two matter; they prefer the bigger things in life. However, for me small acts of kindness show how much someone cares. It could range from a surprise cup of coffee from a coworker who stopped at Starbucks on the way to work or a text from a friend who just wanted to say ‘hey, I prayed for you and your family’ when they didn’t have to.
Actions, by far, speak louder than words. Items come and go; they can be easily bought with much or little thought put into them. Actions, on the other hand, can remind someone how much you care for them and lets them know you were thinking about them. Not everyone can verbally relay what they feel for someone in their heart and not all situations can be comforted by words, but a love-filled hug can warm a heart to the point of tears. In the midst of lament, having someone there to wipe away our tears, even if they speak not a word, can mean the world to us.
“‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes’.”Revelation 7:17b
Be aware, though, there is a flip side to actions. They do not always bring comfort, relief, love, or joy. Sometimes actions bring pain, torment, hate, and guilt. There are several in the world who are willing to beat others down, either because their own inner pain causes them to lash out or because for some reason they enjoy it. Sometimes actions can be deceitful, fooling an unsuspecting someone into thinking they are loved only to discover they’ve fallen into a terrible and abusive trap. Sometimes actions lead to betrayal like when going half-and-half with a friend on a lottery ticket only for your friend to claim all the money for themselves because they held onto the ticket and you had no proof to your half of the purchase. (Don’t gamble, friends. It isn’t worth it. To misquote Effie Trinket, the odds are not in your favor. Thus, it is not wise.)
Either way the actions go, they are drops of water. If they are actions of good, comfort, and love, these drops can accumulate to become an ocean that washes one in blessings and joy. However, if they are actions of wrong, hatred, or guilt, they will still accumulate but will only become an ocean someone can drown in. Such an overwhelming amount of misery can push one to the brink where life doesn’t seem worth living any more. Without actions of good to oppose the actions of wrong in someone’s life, they will have no doubt in their decision until it’s too late.
We never know what the other person is truly dealing with. We can know someone for years yet never know until it’s too late to do anything that they were suffering from depression. I’ve not only had the misfortune of attending a funeral for a cousin who went through this, but have also faced this darkness myself long ago. I’ve had friends who, for the first two years of our friendship, I never knew went through abuse or rape. It takes a lifetime to get to know someone completely because they lived a life before we knew them. Actions matter, even when words mean nothing.
Be careful, friends, when you get the chance to meet a stranger. Allow your actions to add to the drops of a loving ocean and not to the ocean of misery. Do not kick someone when they are down. Instead, build somebody up. Above all, love everyone, no matter how much their actions towards you are wrong. For even the wicked chose who to love and who to oppose. Should we not be different from the wicked and love all no matter what?
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy’. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”Matthew 5:43-48
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”1 John 3:18