“Wizard’s Fifth Rule: Mind what people do, not only what they say, for deeds will betray a lie.” – Soul of the Fire
Too often, we fall into the trap of simply believing what a person tells us. We get caught up in the words, in the message of what they are saying, that we completely neglect the deeds that the person does.
This was the case for the wizards during the time of the old war over 3,000 years ago in Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series. In this particular text, Richard Rahl remembers that the wizards failed to apply the Wizard’s Fifth Rule when dealing with Wizard Joseph Ander.
Ander was sent to a place known as Toscla to banish creatures from the Underworld known as the chimes. These creatures possess Subtractive Magic, and the world needs balance, so the longer they remain in the world, the less Additive Magic there is. The chimes need Additive Magic to live in the world, and their very presence depletes Additive Magic.
However, Wizard Ander had other ideas.
Apparently, while Ander was claiming loyalty to the Order of Wizards with his words, his actions showed something altogether different. In truth, he was building a life for himself, free from what the considered the chains of the order and the constant questioning and nagging of his colleagues. In the end, Ander chose to imprison the chimes, evil creatures, and use their power to create dangerous weapons that could obliterate anyone within its sound waves.
Richard believed that if the wizards had only bothered to look at what Ander was doing instead of just what he was saying, the evil of the chimes could have been stopped 3,000 years ago and the world would not have been on the brink of destruction.
What does this mean for us?
That being said, we live in a world where we are deceived by the words people say. And it isn’t a situational thing either.
We tend to believe what our parents tell us. We believe what our pastors tell us. We believe politicians, the media, our teachers and the books we read.
We get tangled up in the words and we ignore the person saying the words.
Jesus knew this concept very well. Being the Son of God, Jesus knew what people were like. And let’s be honest, people are not that much different today than during the time of Jesus.
When speaking with His disciples, Jesus warned them about false prophets and teachers. He refers to them as “disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves”(Matthew 7:15). You know the phrase: a wolf in sheep’s clothing. That’s what Jesus is calling these false prophets.
In essence, they look like one of us (and by one of us I mean the group with which we associate). They know the lingo. They know how to carry themselves. They know the right things to say and the right things to do to get us to accept them as one of us.
In reality, they are there to destroy and deceive. They are there to tear apart everything we have worked for and to bring down what we hold dear.
Jesus warns us of these people and calls them wolves in sheep’s clothing. Seemingly harmless, but very dangerous.
So, if they look like us, how do we tell them apart?
Jesus says that we will know them “by their fruit, that is, by the way they act” (Matthew 7:16).
Those who come to us with ulterior motives always end up showing their hands. They actions betray their words.
You can preach peace all you want, but if you are constantly getting into fights or starting wars, then why should we believe you?
You can say we should love all people, but if you show any hint of hatred toward another person, whether of your own race or culture or that of another, why should we follow you?
If you say women are to be respected and cared for, but you have a track record of abuse and degradation, why should we join your cause?
This is not just about politics. This about everything. We have all been betrayed by politicians who say one thing and do another and priests who preach love and celibacy but molest little kids. We have all been hurt by those whose actions betray their words.
We have all been deceived by smooth words and we fail to look at the person saying the words.
So, my friends, when there is someone on the rise who seems to say all the right things, look at their lives. Do their lives reflect their words, or are they two different people: one person in the public eye and another behind closed doors?
Are they a person of integrity? Or are they two-faced?
Don’t just listen to their words. Look at their actions.
We will know them by their fruit, that is the things they do and the way they act.
Because actions speak louder than words.
Until next time, keep the faith.