The name Jerry Springer, when said out loud, results in not only a few guffaws but pointed comments and even shakings of the head. The show basically outs a lot of deception and exposes behind the scenes actions. If you don’t know much about Jerry Springer, personally, you might be surprised. Not only was he the mayor of Cincinnati at one point, but his grandparents, aunts, and uncles were all victims of the holocaust. They did not survive. When you know that info, that last fact especially, you seem to suddenly have a bit more empathy for the guy that has such a bizarre TV show to his credit. When you hear him talk or see him interviewed, he can be quite impressive.

You can think you know someone. But then, when it all comes down, do you really know them? A person can be attractive, attentive, kind, appear to be thoughtful, but when it all comes down…. It’s the person that you don’t see when your back is turned–that can be a very different story.

We all come to the table with different backgrounds and experiences. And because of that fact, we respond to situations and scenarios differently then the person next to us. That is just how it is. As I grow a bit older and wiser I begin to understand that it’s not necessarily what we say, but rather, what we do as people that is remembered. Sure, words sting and we can in fact remember them forever. But when you pull back and take stock of a person’s actions, that’s when we get a clearer picture of who they are.

I remember being shocked when I heard the rumors about Bing Crosby. Supposedly he was quite a mean person. Who knew? Apparently, one of his sons claims that he beat his kids. Some folks say that was the just way people raised their children back then. It was different from our present parenting culture by huge standards. What one person considers strict then another considers as abuse now.

Some times we just have a bad day, or might not feel well, to name a few reasons. And on that day, some pretty rough words can come out. Or, perhaps we are a bit nasty or rude. It’s times like these, when it happens to me, that I am learning to pull back and say, hmmmm, let me reflect on that person’s actions. They don’t exactly match their words right now. And if the actions speak the opposite, I can pretty much get a real feel for the moment at hand and move on with my life.

On the flip side, a person can say all the right things, but those sentences will not always be recalled if they have done something hurtful or offensive in the past. It’s who we are and what we do that, at the end of the day, truly counts. For example, if I show up at questionable places, if the history on my computer isn’t something I’d share with my church friends, that is pretty telling. Again, it’s the “what” I do, that tells folks who I am inside.

When I read the New Testament, I don’t see a lot of words of Christ, but I sure see a lot of action. He did a lot. And he did a lot of good.

When you come across a person or a situation this week that throws you, ask if you need to not so much focus on the words but perhaps review their actions. Does their past behavior toward you match? If not, then take a step back and think it through a bit more. If that person is usually there for you when the chips are down, has your back, and has a record of showing you they care, then let the moment slide. You’ll probably be glad you did.

I know it’s a challenge for me. And one I hope that is a positive thought for you too.