Have you ever thought of how you treat others as producing fruit? Think of how you feel when someone is rough with you. It hurts like a barb from a pine cone. If you are not familiar with that analogy I promise its no picnic. Then in the opposite direction you have someone who is over sweet in action but you can tell its not sincere, I smell a rotten orange here.
I find it interesting that there are 27 references in the bible (old testament and new) that compares how you treat others as ‘bearing fruit’. Fruit, back in biblical times, was probably not as abundant as it is today so it made a good reference to help people understand the sweetness of following God. Galatians 5:22 even list the Fruits of the Spirit – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Love, I believe is listed first as this is the binding agent of everything we do. All of these fruits overlap at times but consistent use of them only strengthens our trunk. Colossians 1:10 tells us to bear fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God. And Matthew 7:16 reminds us that by their fruit you will recognize them. And Jesus also reminds us in Matthew 12:33 “Make a tree good…for a tree is recognized by its fruit.”
We are God’s tree and must strive to only bare good fruit. Do we slip up and and produce rotten fruit periodically? Yes but God’s grace plucks that bad fruit and tosses it in the nearest trash can, pruning that branch to strengthen it where good fruit will again be produced. It’s a process that we must cultivate and fertilize daily.
Of all of the fruits listed, my favorite is kindness. Even when you are hurt or angry and in a dark place, if you can pull kindness from your tree, the rotten fruit trying to sprout will not be allowed to fester and grow. Sometimes your kindness may be all that is needed to break the ice of a frozen pond of fear and rejection.