QHow do we live out St. Francis’s axiom “Preach Christ! If you must, use words”?
A It is a sad commentary on the church when Christians attempt to evangelize unbelievers with their words and yet fail to authenticate the gospel with their deeds. On the other hand, there are also Christians who engage in acts of kindness, justice, and mercy but choose to remain silent with respect to what is motivating their good deeds. They love others with the grace and truth of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe disciples of Jesus Christ must engage in the joy of evangelism with both word and deed.
The apostle Peter encourages us along those lines with these words: “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Pet. 2:12). Paul further compels us: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? . . . Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Rom. 10:14, 17).
You see, both Peter and Paul “talked the talk and walked the walk!”