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Barbara Walking in the Valley
A weekly column for those who live and walk in Silicon Valley

by Barbara Dahlgren


Telling The Good From The Bad
Column for the weeks of October 1-15, 2005

One of my favorite movies is Wizard of Oz. I love it! Dorothy spins over that rainbow and lands on top of a wicked witch. Then the lovely Glinda floats down like a beauty queen to ask Dorothy in a wavery voice, “Are you a good witch or a bad witch?” Dorothy is perplexed. “I’m not a witch at all,” she says. “Witches are old and ugly.”

“Tee-hee-hee,” the Munchkins teeter. The elegant Glinda says, “They’re laughing because I am a witch.”

Things aren’t always what they seem, are they? Consider if someone were to ask you, “Are you a good Christian or a bad Christian?” Is this an anomaly? Aren’t all Christians, by virtue of just being Christian, good? If that were true books like When Bad Christians Happen to Good People by Dave Burchett wouldn’t have to be written.

For example: Recently, a police officer in South Carolina pulled a couple over for a traffic violation. He noticed their bumper sticker, “It’s a Druid thing.” Not wanting to miss a chance to proselyte, he invited them to a Bible class. Later he sent them a letter which stated, “God is calling you. If you deny this, then you are pushing away the hand of God...”

For example: The majority at a Colorado Springs U.S. Air Force Academy appears to have chosen Christianity as their religion of choice. This would not be so bad if the chaplain at a nondenominational service hadn’t stated, “those not ‘born again’ will burn in the fires of hell” and some who skipped the service were hunted down by zealous “Christians” and called “heathens.”

One basic problem Christians have is they tend to want to convert people to be like them rather than leading them to encounter the risen Christ.

Are Christians perfect? Of course not! But the errors should come more from stumbling and falling in the process to be like Christ (walking the walk) rather than merely forcing others to share their point of view on Christianity (talking the talk). As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Who you are speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you are saying.” People should know a Christian by how they live, how they treat others, their love of God, and the fruits of the spirit manifest in their lives.

How does the Bible say you can recognize a disciple of Christ? “By this all will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35) 1 Peter 2:15 says, “…by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.”

Should we be able to talk the talk? You bet! How else will you know what and why you believe? But more importantly, if you want to win souls for Christ, you better walk the walk. If you walk the walk, people are going to be more inclined to hear what you have to say. This may be one way to tell the good Christians from the bad.

 

Be sure to visit this page often to read the next edition of Walking in the Valley. You can write to the author at bdahlgren@wcgsouthbay.org.

 

 

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