It's so funny that we read this portion today, because yesterday on Facebook, I commented on a friend's question.
Kacy Aycock Do people act the way they do because of the events surrounding them or are their reactions the result of the kind of people they are?I was just answering off the cuff, and I don't know that there is one "right" answer, because I don't know that it's a legitimate question. I mean, define "the kind of people" a person is.
But what I haphazardly quoted showed up in Matthew 12:33-35 "Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers (speaking to the religious hypocrites), how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him."
I know, in reading this in the past, the words "good" and "evil" really put me off. To me, it sounded condemning and judgmental; as if I had two options - to be "good", or to be "evil". Does that mean that if I blow up at my husband over something stupid, that there is "evil" in my heart? EVIL? Like the FRU-ITS of the DEVIL? EVIL? :)
So here's how The Message Bible puts it:
"If you grow a healthy tree, you'll pick healthy fruit. If you grow a diseased tree, you'll pick worm-eaten fruit. The fruit tells you about the tree."
I like the words "healthy" and "diseased" better. In talking to the dark, religious hypocrites who only had it in mind to trap Jesus, He was definitely talking to people who had chosen to war against God and His Christ. But I think this also applies to those of us who have chosen to live the life of a disciple, but still are "dis-eased" in our souls.
I had a transformed Spirit when I asked God to re-make me. But my soul was desperately ill. It was poisoned for years by abusive people in my life, and I ate the fruit of that poisoned root my entire life. There were toxins in me - unforgiveness, bitterness, self-hatred, suicidality, depression, shame, shame, shame. The fruits were an eating disorder, self-injury, insomnia, ruined relationships, suicide attempts, etc. I viewed the world through a filter of lies, the produce of my life wreaking.
I was going to heaven for sure, but my heart was sick, so the overflow was self-destructive.
Joyce Meyer has a book called "Beauty for Ashes" that talks a lot about the results of a poisoned "root system", following after the example of the "fruit of the tree". Neil T. Anderson also has a great book called "Victory Over the Darkness".
The latter describes very well the journey of healing I have been on. I've babbled on long enough, but let me say that God has been cutting off the unhealthy branches and ripping out the poisoned roots in my life, replacing them with healthy, life-giving nutrients.
I am definitely not perfect, but in learning what it means to release bitterness and anger, in letting Christ cover my shame, and in allowing the Word of God to pour into the desert inside of me, my health is being restored, and the fruits - the natural reactions, words, attitudes, and behaviors that flow out of me - are much, much more tasty.
So that's part of my testimony. LOL
I stand by my answer to Kacy. :)