03.12.2011 Feature Article

All Words, No Soul!

All Words, No Soul!
03.12.2011 LISTEN

Words, words, words!
Conviction not a premium
We shall surely fit in
As long as we are heard

From the poem above, one can speculate this piece as being an interesting subject to consider. The compelling foundation for this article is a pertinent observation of human life and what can be perceived in practice. Truly, this is a poignant subject to consider by all standards; All words, No Soul!

It is not farfetched to discover people saying things and portraying lifestyles that outwardly communicate a conflicting message to what they are internally. Such is the situation that there is not even a smidgen of resemblance between the visible and the invisible. Consequently, their profession has little similitude to what is in practical existence. A quick look around would unearth some Christians doing things not necessarily based on faith. It is almost a mere façade with an objective of fitting-in. In a way, they act like they are just a part of the orchestra and unsurprisingly go through the motions, remonstrating to the conductor's commands, albeit bereft of a modicum of contextual understanding.

The argument for this title's piece can be said to be at least trite and at best intriguing or cautiously evincing a measure of thought provocation. The soul has been explained to encompass a tripartite composition; mind, will and emotions. Accordingly, the analogy has to be empty words not in alignment with one's will, mind and emotion; simply words. One can discern a wider interpretation of this. Metaphorically speaking, the connection pervades the totality of life where what one does and says do not add up to personal conviction or corporate repose. Is that why it has been said in Latin, “fronti nulla fides” translated as “no reliance can be placed on appearance” or “don't judge a book by its cover”?

Some may hastily question what my motivation is and where I am going with this. Well, such questions are justifiable in the scheme of events. My continuous observation of society both secular and religious can only be the percussor to such writings. My motivation remains a willingness to use the print media to achieve what I call the 4 I's; inculcate values, inform ignorance, inspire action, and initiate change.

I have discovered many people on what has been tersely referred to as being on “auto-pilot”. It is “all words but no soul,” there is no indubitable conviction in what they do. Ipso facto, there is no certitude in either what they do or say.

The application of such is not rocket science. In Jesus' teachings, He made mention of such. He once unequivocally declared, “Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:28, King James Version - KJV). From this, He avowed that the people's outward disposition did not tally with their internal positioning. This notion is further amplified by Apostle Paul when he observed a similar situation and went on to offer a causation of such. This he noted as: “Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;” (1 Timothy 4:2, KJV).

Moreover, in an attempt to decry the disposition of man to enter into verbal discourses without corresponding actions, Jesus at one point, sadly questioned, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46, KJV). Jesus discerned that the people were calling Him Lord, Lord, but not interested in following his teachings. Their mirroring of our society, as it is today, was keenly based on profession but not practice. It was all about words and no action to support it. There is such an uncanny resemblance even now where you can easily cite examples of people who say so much and yet have nothing to show for it. Is that why it has been said that, “Empty barrels make the most noise?”

The issue of all words and no soul predated Jesus' time. The prophet Isaiah wrote about this in no uncertain terms. He averred, “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men” (Isaiah 29:13, KJV). This very scripture was paraphrased by Jesus when he also stated, “These people draw near unto me with their mouth, and honour me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:8, KJV).

The realisation that strikes me is that even today in our churches, people are virtually taught to go through the motions, and no wonder the prophet Isaiah mentions that “their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men.” In a way, they do things to fit in and be seen as being a part of what is going on although they may not necessarily be interested in such. Their real mind, will and emotions do not accede to what they are doing. It is sad because even in some seasons, you find people doing things that they don't believe in but just out of show or out of the willingness to be seen they end up doing things that are not exactly what they would have liked to do.

Jesus taught about the Pharisees where he mentions that they are like whitewashed tombs. He noted that they prayed outwardly so they can be noticed. Additionally, He also cautioned against giving gifts as a show for outward praise as seen in Matthew 6:1-4: “1Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don't make a performance out of it. It might be good theatre, but the God who made you won't be applauding. 2-4When you do something for someone else, don't call attention to yourself. You've seen them in action, I'm sure—'play actors' I call them— treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that's all they get. When you help someone out, don't think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out” (The Message).

Jesus further extends this teaching to the issue of fasting. To this He says: “When you practice some appetite-denying discipline to better concentrate on God, don't make a production out of it. It might turn you into a small-time celebrity but it won't make you a saint. If you 'go into training' inwardly, act normal outwardly. Shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash your face. God doesn't require attention-getting devices. He won't overlook what you are doing; he'll reward you well” (Matthew 6:16-18, The Message).

We may be seen as being what we are not. However, we need to realise that what is essential is that there is a reward for what we really are or have chosen to be. This then brings to mind a clarion call that Prophet Joel issues when he trumpets: “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity” (Joel 2:13, New International Version).

In a nutshell, we should come to that point where we ensure that there is soul in the words that we say. Further, that there is a conviction in the actions that we render and also what we portray outwardly is in line with what we are within. Otherwise, it would just be “all words and no soul”.

The thought that this article leaves the reader with is this; “Do you mean what you say and do you say what you mean? Do you do what you mean and mean what you do? Is it all about words and no soul?” That is one for reflection! With an inexorable determination, we shall hopefully ascend to the pedestal where there is perfect alignment of our words with our actions, which should reward us with necessary dividends.

Dr. Frank Robert Silverson is the author of several online articles covering different subjects. He is an author with a knack for tackling issues that polarise opinion. He aspires to bring an objective insight to such topics. Dr. Silverson has written three books about to be released titled; Don't Lose It!, The Golden Seven, and Contemporary Thought and Insight.

Email: [email protected]