Christians: Edify Others by Your Behavior

“You see, I wish and pray that you would all hold fast to right order as teachers, that you would not simply be listeners to what is said by us but also transmit it to others, casting  your net for those still in error so as to bring them to the way of truth – as Paul says, ‘Edify one another,’ and , ‘With fear and trembling work out your own salvation.’ In this way we will have the satisfaction of seeing the Church grow in numbers, and you will enjoy more abundant favor from above through the great care you show for your members. God, you know, does not wish Christians to be concerned only for themselves but also to edify others, not simply through their teachings but also through lifestyle and the way they live it; after all, nothing is such an attraction to the way of truth as probity of life – in other words, people pay less attention to what we say than to what we do.  As proof that this is the case – I mean, even if we debate the issue thousands of times and argue about forgiveness but do nothing to demonstrate it in practice, the good our words do will not match the harm done by our behavior; whereas if we give demonstration of it in practice before our talking and after our talking, we will be shown to be trustworthy in preaching what we practice, since Christ also declared such people blessed in the words, ‘Blessed is the one who does and teaches’ – as proof, then, consider how he put doing before teaching. You see, provided practice comes first, even if teaching doesn’t follow, the actions themselves suffice to teach more conspicuously than words to the people observing us.”    (St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Genesis 1-17, pps. 112-113)