ODB: Show And Tell

June 2, 2013

READ: John 13:5-17 

I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. —John 13:15

If you take a course on writing or attend a writer’s conference, you’ll likely hear the phrase, “Show, don’t tell.” In other words, “show” your readers what is happening, don’t just tell them. Don’t tell readers what you did; describe doing it.

One of the reasons we tend to tell rather than show is that it’s easier and faster. Showing how to do something requires time and effort. In teaching, it’s easier to tell students what’s wrong with what they did than to show them how to do it right. The latter, however, is more effective.

For thousands of years, the Jewish people had only the law telling them what to do and what not to do. But then came Jesus Christ, who showed them how to live the life God had been telling them about all along. Jesus didn’t just say, “Be humble”; He “humbled Himself” (Phil. 2:8). He didn’t just say, “Forgive others”; He forgave us (Col. 3:13). He didn’t just say, “Love God and your neighbors”; He demonstrated love by His actions (John 15:12).

Christ’s perfect example of love shows how great God’s love is for us and how we are to show His love to others.

— Julie Ackerman Link

Bless the Lord for love victorious,
Love that conquered on the tree;
For His grace so great and glorious
Flowing out from Calvary. —Peterson

Love is God’s will in action.

Source: Our Daily Bread