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Is it real or fake? Everyone wants to know

“Is it real?” 

Those were the first words out of our granddaughter Shields’ mouth when she opened the petite jewelry bag. It was a child-size gold ring with a tiny jeweled star as its only adornment. The shiny jewels were small enough and sparkly enough to mimic the real, but Shields wanted to hear it from the giver of the gift.

Perhaps she asked a question that she won’t always ask as she grows older, but she’s old enough to begin to differentiate between the fake and the real thing and the value of each. No, the star wasn’t studded with real diamond chips, but they were great imitations.

The ring was still pretty and still sparkled like the real thing, but I could tell it lost its estimable value with Shields. As I thought about her question, I realized she was only asking what the world asks all around us.

When heart ache hits a marriage and a celebrity in the eyes of the world falls off the pedestal, we wait, watch and wonder — was it real or just an imitation of a commitment? Time will tell, and the real will weather the storm. The fake will fall victim.

Tragedy wields its horrific blows every day and night. Facebook, Twitter, newspapers and TV are filled with them. How do the devastated respond? Bitter? Broken? Forgiving? God-glorifying? We see a multiplicity of responses, but eventually — in time — the fake or the real is discernible.

Some of the TV evangelists who promote only health and wealth have a huge following. To all their “investors” in this “think-it-and-own-it” philosophy, the apostle Paul would be an absurdity — certainly not one they would invite as a guest speaker. Paul’s not-so-magnetic philosophy was, “I am crucified with Christ …” That meant he was dead to everything Paul wanted and only wanted to please Christ.

The “get rich” evangelists tout, “To live is to have your dream spouse, home, car and job.” Paul said, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” He added, “I have learned to be content regardless of my circumstances.” There’s a huge discrepancy between Paul’s and those evangelists’ views.

Shields actually asked a question every believer should use as a test question when we examine our faith. Is it real or fake? There’s no place or value for imitations.

Letters to Camille Anding can be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS, 39602, or e-mailed to camille@datalane.net.