People Who Only Talk

Several years ago, a church in Korea sent young people to Afghanistan to visit and assist a medical doctor the church supported and give medical care to the Afghan people for a few weeks. During their return trip, they were kidnapped by the Taliban and held hostage for several months. Internet posters were harsh when commenting on this incident. Most of them expressed their displeasure by saying things like “They should have known what was coming when they decided to go in violation of government regulations that forbid travel in Afghanistan” (in fact there were no such regulations), or “It’s wrong to force people to convert to Christianity” (the young people were not there to evangelize but to provide physical labor for a medical clinic).

Such comments made me mad. These young people went to Afghanistan to help people who were less fortunate than they were. I wondered if those people who criticized the group’s good deeds had done anything at all to help their neighbors? Most of them probably hadn’t lifted a finger to help their poor neighbors or people of other nations. But they condemned those young people as if they were criminals.

I get upset when people criticize those who do good deeds, but I also get upset (in a different way) when people compliment those who do good deeds. Sometimes reports appear about people who have done noble deeds like sacrificially helping unfortunate people, donating all their savings for scholarships (money accumulated by a lifetime of working in menial jobs), or living exemplary lives of service for other people. Comments are nothing but complimentary. But I can’t help but wonder how many of these commenters actually decided to live the way these examplary people lived?

A cynical philosopher once said that morality and ethics were the invention of people who had to control the people who had not. I thinks there’s a grain of truth to that when I see the rich praise simple lives, tyrants applaud loyalty, people in power insist on law and order, and Mafia bosses demand citizen’s rights.

Talking doesn’t mean a thing, whether it’s criticism or a compliment. I wish people would stop talking and start living.

Many people criticize the church. Many others talk about church renewal. But they just point out problems without offering any viable solutions. They simply vent their frustration using pretty words like the will of God, the Lord’s body, holy community, divine justice, or sacrificial service.

House Church shepherds actually serve people instead of just talking about it. Pastors who have implemented the House Church try to restore New Testament churches instead of just talking about it. This is why I love and admire shepherds and the pastors who have implemented the House Church.

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