I was perusing Pinterest the other day and came across this little nugget:
“Your beliefs don’t make you a better person; your behavior does.”
It’s a sentiment I’ve come across before. What you believe doesn’t matter so long as you are a “good person.” I guess I get the underlying message. If you say you believe in charity and peace towards one another but your actions don’t reflect that, then you don’t get to call yourself a “good person.” You have to live it out.
The problem is that’s not what the statement actually says. It’s not “your behavior should reflect your beliefs.” The underlying assertion here is that what a person believes doesn’t matter. As if you could believe in murder as a virtue, and you’d still be a good person so long as you didn’t actually get around to acting on it.
I’m sorry but I just can’t agree with that. And it makes me wonder we as a society are collectively forgetting what “belief” in something actually means.
Beliefs matter. What a person believes necessarily informs everything about the way that person understands himself and the world around him. Your behavior stems from your beliefs.
This also means that your behavior reveals your true beliefs. If you say you believe in something, but your actions consistently don’t reflect this belief, eventually you’re not even going to claim to believe in it anymore. Because if you truly believe in something, your actions are in accordance with that belief.
That’s what it means to believe in something!
If I truly believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God—that He came to this earth out of love for me and for all humankind, to save us from sin— that is going to have an immense impact on every one of my actions. First and foremost, if I say I believe in Jesus, I’m going to strive to keep His commandments. If I say I believe in what He taught, I’m going to strive to treat my brothers and sisters with love and compassion. Belief isn’t a game.
So let’s stop perpetuating this “beliefs don’t matter” nonsense. What you believe informs who you are. I’d say that matters! 🙂