Are we like whitewashed tombs?

“Behavior is what a man does, not what he thinks, feels, or believes!” This statement was posted on the Internet with following comments commending the author as being insightful. I agree in the strictest sense of the word — the first dictionary definition of the word is, “observable activity in a human or animal”. However it totally ignores the relationship between out thoughts, feelings and beliefs and how we behave. The second dictionary definition, “the aggregate of responses to internal and external stimuli” points toward this relationship.

The statement seems to ignore this relationship and rather reinforces the commonly held false belief that it doesn’t matter what one thinks, feels, or believes: all that matters is what one does. This could not be further from the truth and contradicts Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5. Jesus here teaches that while the old law focused on bad behavior, we need to focus on getting our hearts right — that is, get our thoughts and feelings under control. If we control our thoughts and feelings, we will not behave badly.

It is sad to see such misunderstandings in the world. But sometimes I wonder if members of God’s household do not think this way at the core. If we do, are we not like white-washed tombs?

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” Matthew 23:27

#behavior, #beliefs, #feelings, #motivation, #thoughts