“Actions speak louder than words” is a proverb whose over use sometimes masks the truth it contains. I read in Genesis 15:6, that Abram (soon to be Abraham) “believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” In Habakkuk 2:4, it says, “righteous shall live by his faith.”
All through Scripture we find that faith ( belief) and righteousness (action) are tied together. What we do comes as a result of what we believe. Therefore, what someone does is a good indication of what they believe.
For most of us (or perhaps I am only speaking for myself) this is a mixed bag. We have areas where our correct belief leads us to good practice, and then there are areas where our belief is week or misguided and we flip-flop like a fish on the dock.
For example, most of the time I am confident in God’s love for me and that confidence spills over into my relationships. When I have this confidence, I have freedom in relationships and I am not devastated if criticism comes my way. Then there are other times when I lack that confidence and I hear criticism in statements that are not intended to be critical.
The point of this is that the phrase “actions speak louder than words” should be used not so much for assessing others as for assessing myself. When my actions are not what I like them to be, I need to be honest about what belief (or unbelief) is underlying those actions.
One of my favorite prayers in Scripture is found in Mark 9:24 where a father cries out to Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief!” This a pretty good starting place for positive change.