Many years ago, one of the managers (his name is Chuck) who reported to me at McDonnell Douglas was a salty former Air Force fighter pilot. He had been shot down in Viet Nam, and spent more than 5 years as a POW, suffering some of the most horrific conditions imaginable since the holocost. One of the things he said to me back in those years was this: “Boss, I listen to what you say. Bust mostly, I watch your feet. I always judge someone more by what they do than by what they say.” I have a lot of stories about Chuck, and I remember a lot of things he said to me. But this one really sticks with me. In Matthew chapter 7, verse 16, the Bible says: By their fruits we will know them”. It’s saying the same thing my employee had been saying to me; What you say is far less meaningful than what you do.
After the recent Republican primary election, USA Today published a numerical report based on exit polling that reflected how voters categorized themselves and who they reported voting for. As I examined the results, I could almost hear Chuck’s words ringing in my ears again. The reason? Almost half of the voters polled (47%) identified as born-again or evangelical Christians. Yet when asked what the most important characteristic in their candidate selection was, 46% said it was “ability to beat Obama”. Only 16% listed “moral character”.
There were other evidences of significant disparity between what these voters said they believe and how they actually voted. For example, although 63% stated that they support the Tea Party and it’s principles, the majority of them voted for Mitt Romney, who by any measure is far less aligned with the Tea Party that any of the other candidates. Then there was the propensity for people (especially women) to vote more for the taller and better looking candidate (human nature, of course, but still….).
The bottom line is that all of us – and in this case those of us who identify ourselves as Christians – often reflect a serious disparity between what we say we believe and what we actually do.
What do you think?