S179P12 – A life in parables: every tree’s fruit

Lk. 6:43‭-‬45

No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.  Each tree is recognized 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.

You have heard it said that art imitates life, but I think life imitates art just as often, with the eyes and ears taking in a stimulus and letting it grab hold of our impulses.  Siblings can have the same start in life with the same parents in the same environment, yet they can be influenced in very different ways by a lot of other sources.  The girls had always been sweet kids, but their paths diverged as they gained some independence.  One gravitated toward entertainment that was heartwarming and God-centered, and that seemed to dictate the people whose company she kept.  The other was drawn to the world’s standard of entertainment, and her life was lived just as dramatically and wildly, feeding off controversy and leaving chaos in her wake.

Being born in sin, we begin life behind the eight ball.  Before we take a breath, sin has made a home in us.  No one needs to teach us how to misbehave, how to be egotistical and defiant.  We know those behaviors the first moment we do not get our way.  What we need to be taught is how to do what is good and right.  Sin is natural; goodness is learned.  Even so, by God’s grace, we have the ability to unlearn sin and replace our desires and motivations with goodness.  Each of us pours out that which is used to fill us.  If I am a pitcher, and a thirsty soul comes to me for relief, that soul will expect me to pour out refreshing water.  I can do that only if I am filled with that water.  If I instead have filled myself with vinegar or sour wine, that soul will be worse off by drinking from my pitcher.  Drinking nothing at all would be better.

We fill ourselves with what we take in through our sight, hearing and touch.  What we absorb immediately moves us in a certain direction as we invite it to take root.  If that root is allowed to live and grow, we end up with a tree that naturally bears fruit based on what feeds it.  We can try to hide our feeding, but our fruit eventually will show others how we have chosen to feast.  We can build houses of sin that become increasingly more depraved and dark, or we can build houses of glory that honor the Lord and reflect his light to the world.  Father, take from us the taste for that which is evil, and give us a greater appetite for that which is good and life-giving.