A Spiritual Revolution 4 - Recognised By Your Fruit
Chan Gin Kai
“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognised by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Luke 6:43-45)
The world is full of pretenders, wolves in sheep’s clothing, people who put on a façade of good but are actually rotten inside. The hints are always there, but we may not be able to catch them. While a botanist or a farmer would be able to identify the species by a tree’s shape and leaves, a novice can only tell when he sees the fruits. Sadly, just as trees only bear fruits when the season is right, the truth about a person’s character may only be revealed later. Good people are often misunderstood, their motives are questioned and their goodwill unappreciated. On the other hand, the bad are often believed in, exposed only when we’ve felt the stab of their malice.
I have asked God these questions many times over the last few months. Why should I do good when all my goodwill gets thrown back into my face? Why should I help people when my motives get questioned? Why should I love when it’s going to make a betrayal more painful? I know I shouldn’t harbour such thoughts; after all, Jesus went through worse. But knowing that Jesus suffered more does not soothe my hurts. It helps me remember that Jesus understands, and reminds me that I’m not alone in my struggles, but the pain remains.
And why are the deceivers so hard to detect until they’ve stabbed you in the back? Is it because they were real in the beginning but got corrupted along the way? Or were they always bad, and I was blind? What can I do when their hearts get so hardened that they even start to believe in their own lies? There can be no resolution when there’s a resistance to reason. And there can be no reason when emotions and ego get in the way. I can rant at the injustice, but there is often no way to solve these situations.
But what we can’t solve, time often does.
The fruits will eventually grow. Trees grow fruits according to their species. Our words and deeds will reflect our nature. The truth will be revealed, and the lies exposed. Justice will be served... eventually.
But therein lies the problem. We can’t wait. We want quick recognition of our virtues, and instant vindication of wrongs committed against us. The wicked will be eventually punished, but we want it to happen quickly. We are impatient for God to act, because we do not trust enough in His goodness and love.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 7:19)
The above verse cuts both ways. Just as I want people who have attacked me to be held accountable for their sins, God will hold me accountable for mine. While I am impatient for God to act against my 'enemies', I am glad that God has patience, or I would stand no chance with my own sins.
There have been sins in my life that I wasn’t broken about and didn’t radically repent of. What if God had not given me time to change but cut me down and thrown me into the fire then? There are still many weaknesses and flaws in my character that I need to work on. Just as God gives me time to change, He gives it to others too. It is true that I may continue to suffer if my ‘enemies’ are not punished, or if they do not change. But while I can’t control how they lead their lives, I can decide how I want to lead mine. I want to gratefully hold on to the grace that God has given me. He has given me the chance, and time, to change.
My fruits will show the kind of tree I am. Let me focus on becoming the man that God wants me to be.
Father, help me learn to be patient by growing my faith in your timing. You will make everything good one day!
Read more about 'A Spiritual Revolution':
Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. In church, he serves as a mentor to young professionals in the EDGE Ministry. He describes himself as "just a sinner who wants to get right with God".