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  • Foundations of Truth

Get Off Your Soapbox and Start Scrubbing

Updated: Jan 2, 2020

The Bible teaches that actions are more important than words. As the Apostle John reminds us:

“Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18 NASB).

Sadly, many civic leaders today practice the opposite, prioritizing words over actions.

For example, San Francisco has become infamous for the amount of needles, human waste, and disease currently ravaging its once iconic streets and piers. The leaders there have not taken steps to solve the problem, but they do talk about it.

They even announced a new initiative to sanitize the vocabulary of the city:

“...a convicted felon or an offender released from custody will be known as a ‘formerly incarcerated person,’ or a ‘justice-involved’ person or just a ‘returning resident.’ A juvenile ‘delinquent’ will now be called a ‘young person with justice system involvement,’ or a ‘young person impacted by the juvenile justice system.’ And drug addicts or substance abusers, meanwhile, will become ‘a person with a history of substance use.’”[1]

Seattle, Portland, and Los Angeles are similarly refusing to address “the stale stench of liquor and human waste…rotting trash and broken appliances…half-dressed, drugged-out shells of people…prostitution and rodent burrows” that dominate so many areas set aside for the homeless in these cities.[2] The elected officials talk about these problems but don’t solve them.

Citizens are understandably frustrated:

“I don't want to see them [my city leaders] on camera anymore. I don't want them to write any more articles about how much they care or how much they're trying to change things. I want to see them do it.”[3]

“Y’all want our votes. Y’all want us to write Congress. Y’all want us to do this and do this. Y’all need to help us.”[4]

“[W]hile you sit in your million-dollar home and you don’t have to look at what we have to look at, there’s hardworking people out there that have to deal with this on a daily basis. What are you going to do for us?”[5]

If we recall the parables of Jesus, we see that the old adage “actions speak louder than words” is actually a Biblical precept:

“But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in the vineyard.’ And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he regretted it and went. The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, ‘I will, sir;’ but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” (Matthew 21:28-31)

The Bible teaches that faith without works is dead (James 2:17). This principle applies to politicians who are full of talk but lack action and substantive change. Sanitizing the words used in the San Francisco may make the City Council feel good about themselves, but the people they claim to represent would appreciate some old-fashioned sanitation of the streets. Civic leaders need to get off their soapbox and start scrubbing!

Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.


[1] Mikelionis, L. (2019, August 22). San Francisco board rebrands 'convicted felon' as 'justice-involved person,' sanitizes other crime lingo. Retrieved from

[2] Chakraborty, B. (2019, August 19). LA residents fed up with officials, demand change after homeless crisis spirals in city. Retrieved from

[3] Chakraborty, B. (2019, August 19). LA residents fed up with officials, demand change after homeless crisis spirals in city. Retrieved from

[4] How do living conditions in Rep. Cummings' Baltimore district compare to those at the border? (2019, July 27). Retrieved from

[5] Novak, E. (2019, August 20). Video: Salon owner says she has to relocate shop due to homeless crisis. Retrieved from

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