Examine the Fruit

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22 NASB

I love peaches. They are in season right now, so every week I buy some. When I make my choice, I don’t just blindly pick up any of them; I inspect them for blemishes, bruises, stage of ripeness and color. I don’t condemn the fruit I did not choose; I merely pass them up after examining their qualities.

You will know them by their fruits

Jesus said a lot about fruit in His teachings, using an analogy the people understood—good trees bear good fruit and bad trees produce blighted fruit. He was speaking of how we can discern if someone is bad or good using an agricultural metaphor. We must look at the fruit people produce by their actions.

Deceit cloaked in a façade

Today’s world is full of conflicting ideologies, proclamations, and pronouncements, some of which sound reasonable and good on the surface. Wrapped up in a veneer of mantras with which everyone would agree, we are often deceived into believing what we see is what we get. However, If one takes the time to scrutinize the fruit of these ideological trees, the pretense of desirability disappears. The Treasury Department trains its people to recognize counterfeit bills by studying the real. The truth does not need a facade, for it is genuine, much like a piece of furniture that is solid wood rather than pressed wood covered with a veneer.

Destruction and Chaos

Nightly videos of violence, destruction, looting, mayhem, and murder have convinced me that under the eroding pretense of caring, there is nothing but violence and hatred. Interestingly, in addition, these riots always start in the dark of night, in the shadows, for light exposes their evil deeds. The people they profess to care for are the ones suffering the most loss. Add to that the fact the English language has degenerated into one foul word used for every part of speech.

The Law

The laws are there to protect us, to render justice, yet the ones who are called to enforce the law are ridiculed, injured, and derided. The fruit of that is anarchy, an absolute rejection of authority. This fruit is the exact opposite of the fruit of the Spirit. If these people loved, violence would not be their fruit. They would work to solve problems by using the unique system of government we enjoy in the U.S., not acting like some third world country.

Our response

We cannot consume this bad fruit. We must be selective about ideas presented as truth. We need to research, examine every philosophy, and compare it to the plumb line of righteousness. If we do not, anarchy will produce its own fruit—tyranny.

Exchanging Truth for a Lie

“The past was erased; the erasure was forgotten; the lie became the truth.” George Orwell

Pontius Pilate asked Jesus at His trial, “What is truth?” The irony of that scene shows the truth stood right before him, but he did not recognize it. Later, the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans about the world system exchanging the truth for a lie, and refusing, like Pilate to see the truth. As a consequence, they worshiped the creation rather than the Creator.

Despising the truth leads to passion ruling our lives–hatred, murder, stealing, envy, strife and malice–the trailblazers to the inability to reason and enslavement to improper things. The past two-thousand-plus years have not taught humankind much, so we seem doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Watching the defacing and removal of statues, the burning, looting and lawlessness we view on the news leads us to understand truth is terminally ill. Erasing our history will not make things better, for history simply records human nature. America is not perfect, nor will she ever be, because its citizens’ hearts are prone to wickedness, the problem for all humankind no matter what color. The ancients considered the heart to be the seat of emotions and will. Until hearts change, erasing the facts will do nothing. Laws simply define evil, place protections around the most vulnerable, and bring order to the chaos of everyone doing what is right in their own eyes.

When Pilate rejected the truth of Jesus, he allowed a mob to crucify Him. Washing his hands did nothing to absolve him from the guilt of his action/inaction. Today, each of us has a choice. Accept the reality of eternal truth or wash our hands in indifference. Statues erected to commemorate people and events are the reality of history. Right or wrong, they stand as sentinels of events.

Giving hearty approval to these acts of destruction not only put our nation precariously close to ruin, it also fuels the fires of insatiable passion. America can be better, there is no doubt of that, but a reasonable person looks to the Constitution to make meaningful changes peaceably and in an orderly fashion without violence. Lawlessness rejects truth and brings anarchy, the opposite of truth and righteousness. America, wake up before truth is replaced by something we will all regret.