Practice What You Preach

This past Tuesday morning I had a dream in which I was witnessing to actress Alison Arngrim who played Nellie Oleson in the TV series “Little House on the Prairie.” In the dream I started quoting a Scripture to Alison. She then requested I read it directly from my Bible. Later I asked Alison if she knew where she will spend eternity when her life ends. Alison was reluctant to answer my question. Hours after I woke up from my dream, I found out actor Richard Bull (who played Nellie’s father Nels Oleson) had died the day before.

I was in third grade when I first heard about the original “Little House on the Prairie” book written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My teacher read a few pages from it during class after we went through one of Laura’s previous books “Little House in the Big Woods.” The “Little House on the Prairie” television program debuted on national television just over a year later in September 1974.  

During its run on NBC, I often watched “Little House on the Prairie” along with my family. Later after moving to Minneapolis, I watched reruns when coming home from classes at the University of Minnesota. Although I preferred living in a bigger city, seeing “Little House” episodes reminded me of how people in smaller towns are usually friendlier.  

To this day I appreciate the Judeo-Christian values emphasized on the show. One episode that stood out to me was “Second Spring.” Nels Oleson briefly escaped his henpecked family life by selling mercantile wares on the road. In another town, he meets a beautiful Irish woman named Molly. The two began a friendship and their feelings deepen for each other. Eventually Nels admitted to Molly that he’s a married man and soon went home to make amends with his wife Harriet. 

Sadly, some of the “Little House on the Prairie” cast members didn’t live godly lives away from the camera. The late Michael Landon who wrote and produced many of the show’s episodes plus played family patriarch Charles Ingalls had an affair with a make-up artist on the set and soon divorced his wife. Steve Tracy who played Nellie’s husband Percival Dalton was a homosexual who died from AIDS complications in 1986. Since then, Alison Arngrim has been active with LGBT-related causes. In an interview four years ago with the Chicago Pride, Alison stated “I’m religious” but “hopefully, they will legalize gay marriage.”

In real life, there are people who act pious in front of others but don’t practice what they preach. The Pharisees were notorious for doing this. Jesus came against these hypocrites in Matthew 15:8, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.” He also said in Luke 6:46, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?”

While good works don’t save us, everyone who names the name of Christ are expected to follow His commandments and depart from iniquity (2 Timothy 2:19). All of us will ultimately stand before God’s throne to give account for the things we have done this in life...good or bad.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” - Matthew 7:21

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