Included on it are a few television shows I always wanted to watch, but never really had the opportunity. Now that I do, I find and record these shows whenever they are on, so I can view them at my leisure.
One such show is the old black and white Perry Mason series that was broadcast in my childhood. My mother always loved to watch it; so I remember it being on. But at the time, the story lines were well over my head. These days, I find myself full of admiration for how well the show was written, acted, and produced.
Nevertheless, while viewing an episode recently, I was struck by the fact that for whatever reason, the soundtrack was out of sync with the picture. I’m sure it was a glitch in the way it was being broadcast and not something in the original production and airing.
Suffice it to say that the whole thing was rather surreal. Voices would be heard when no mouths were moving on the screen. Conversely, mouths would be moving on the screen when no words were being heard. And this went on for several minutes.
Of course, the problem magically went away when the next commercial came on. (I guess the advertisers will not long stand for what the consumer must otherwise endure!) Thus, by the time the program resumed, the matter had resolved itself. But the experience of seeing and hearing inconsistency in the actors’ performances has stuck with me.
As I have pondered this simple matter, I have been led to ask myself a few questions regarding whether or not there is any inconsistency between the things I myself say and the things I myself do. To begin with, do I say things at the wrong time? Do I speak when I should not be speaking? Do I speak when others should be speaking? In such times, do my words speak more about me than I intend? Or even realize?
Conversely, do I not speak when I should be speaking? Do I remain silent when I should clearly be saying something? And if so, does my silence condemn me in such moments?
What is more, do I say things that are out of sync with my actions? Do I say one thing and act another way? Or vice versa? If and when this happens, do my actions actually speak louder than my words? Equally as significant, perhaps, is just how glaring any and all such occurrences may be to others when I myself fail to grasp what I am displaying!
After all, is it not more than a little strange that I can pick up fairly quickly on any inconsistencies in others when their words and actions are not in sync, but can somehow remain blissfully ignorant of any such behavior in my own life?
Of course, perception is one thing; but destruction is quite another. So maybe the biggest question of all is just how detrimental my own inconsistencies are to others. When I display words and actions that are out of sync with one another, what does that do to my testimony as a believer?! How destructive is such behavior to my Christian witness?!
The Bible repeatedly admonishes us as believers to practice consistency in order not to cause others to stumble. Consider just two of Jesus’s statements about the importance of our witness – the first from the Gospel of Matthew (chapter 5, verse 16, Amplified Version), and the second from the Gospel of Luke (chapter 18, verses 1-3, Amplified Version)…
“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
“Stumbling blocks [temptations and traps set to lure one to sin] are sure to come, but woe (judgment is coming) to him through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone [as large as one turned by a donkey] were hung around his neck and he were hurled into the sea, than for him to cause one of these [a]little ones to stumble [in sin and lose faith]. Pay attention and always be on guard [looking out for one another]!”
Such admonitions are given to us with good reason! For whenever our testimony is out of sync, we clearly run the risk of influencing others to live their own lives out of sync as well.
Of course, the whole purpose in Christ having come to earth was to get us back in sync! It was sin that put us out of sync in our relationship with the Heavenly Father; and it was the redemptive work of His Son, Jesus Christ, that put our relationship with Him back in back in sync.
But while our relationship is back in sync, our fellowship is not always so. The former has been fixed permanently; but the latter requires attention on a regular basis. This is precisely why the Apostle Paul cautions us not to give way to the old self.
In verses 22-24 of the 4th chapter of his letter to the Ephesians, he remind us how important it is “to put off your former way of life, your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be renewed in the spirit of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Given all of this, may I be faithful to keep my own testimony in sync. May my words and my actions always match up - in the eyes of others, in my own eyes, and above all, in God’s eyes!