Written by Hannah Oyewole on March 16, 2020
By their fruits, you shall know them Matthew 7: 16
I prefer the New Living Translation: “You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act”.
Many past and recent events in my life and that of others have inspired my writing about this.
It ranges from counselling people on their relationships in the Church, within family, at work and in marriage.
A young lady asked if she can marry a stingy man. They have been dating for so long and things have not changed. They are talking about meeting her parents but she is scared and asking if the young man would be responsible as a husband. Of course, this question I may not be able to give a 100% answer, however she could go back to her memory and visualise the picture of the husband she has prayed for, of course not a perfect man but is he someone that is unloving, uncaring and stingy? What are the possible outcome from such treatment of the lady if they eventually get married? Possibly the lady toiling by herself to cater for her needs and that of their children, becoming a cheat, a liar or thief to acquire needed funds. If the bible does not want the character of others to be considered in our decision making, we would not have been hinted “hello! by their fruit, you shall know them” and this does not only apply to this lady’s situation, it goes for many more who stays in abusive, unhealthy and unloving relationships. I may not be sure of anything but I am sure that love is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud. Love does not dishonours others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It protects, always trust, always hopes, and always perseveres. I believe this definition so much because I read it from the scriptures (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7). So in essence, the bible is revealing a secret that when you see all these, it is love but when you experience otherwise from anyone, then it is not love. The bible is saying to you, your spouse will not be perfect but you can both grow and develop in the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
It is interesting to know that this scripture, “You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act”, is a scripture to be considered throughout the lifespan of any relationship and in different environments. In marriage for example, as you go through life or as your circumstances changes, you come to knowledge of a new character in your spouse. When they react to situations in the new circumstance, you are able to know them more. You identify if the fruit(s) they exhibit in that instance is/are positive or negative. If they are positive, you thank God and you keep praying for them for consistency. If they are negative, you add a new prayer point to your prayer list and you learn how to relate with them and navigate with wisdom.
I remind you again by their fruits, you shall know them, that is, by the way they act.
You have given someone funds once and they misappropriated it. You gave them again and they did the same thing. Now you know them by their fruits, why would you entrust so much more to them. If you do, I would never agree with you they have done you wrong, because when they showed you the fruit they carried in the inside of them, you ignored. Therefore, I say again, I may not be sure of all things but I am certain of one thing, by their fruit, you shall know them, that is, by the way they act.
Now, let us walk down the Church lane, a lot is happening and there is a culture of silence. It has penetrated the church so deeply. The truth is things should not be the way they are in most Christian Congregation. One of the issue I have experienced over and over again is the lack of repentance. Many have complained about congregation looking the other way when we should be encouraging each other to be better. In all of this, there is one thing I have come to accept, many call the name of God, but their hearts are far away from God. I did not say that, Matthew 15:8 recorded it as an account of Jesus. I remember my friend and I agreeing that our parents taught us well, however they never shared much about this category of people that pretend so much.
Our parents want us to be kind at all times, do not fight with people, and do not push people so they do not accidentally die in your hands – a very strange one right? When you receive a visitor, let your priority be hospitality towards them. Love everyone especially those of the house hold of God. Be thankful at all times, when someone does something for you; call them back the following day to thank them for yesterday. Some of our parents made it sound as if there are no wolves in the Church and so most of us are caught up. We do not understand, we cannot really comprehend it. We see in the congregation very nasty people, we see mild nasty people and it beats our imagination. What some can never try at their work places or with colleagues at work, they guinea pig their supposed co- kingdomniers with it. When they are wrong in the church, they use the bible to justify but when they are wrong at work, they apologise. They have a character they will exhibit with rich people. They have another character they will display to their Pastors. Someone once said to me, Feyikemi, I cannot even be myself anymore. And I will not meet that confession with another bible quote because I understand. I only pray that we are able to ignite God’s grace that is sufficient to bear all things. Why have I included this paragraph? It is for you to be of good cheer, because Jesus warned us and literally said, “I have not said everyone that would be in the Church are righteous people, so why worry? Therefore, I encourage you to identify a true child of God by their heart of repentance. You also know a true child of God not by the words that comes out from their lips but by the character, they exhibit. Therefore, allow the fruits they exhibit come to play when you need to make a decision that involves them, because Matthew 7: 16 says: “You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act”.
Let us talk about friends. Proverbs 26: 11 states as a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. When a friend has consistently bring you down, used you, lied against you, caused you to lose other treasured relationships, and you still say oh I will remain friends with them because God asked me not to judge? Honestly, I wish you luck, albeit admonishing you; it is not hard at all. You can walk away because they have proven to you over and over again that the fruits they carry in the inside of them towards you are deceit and hatred. If you keep going back to them again and again, you are simply saying “look at me, I am proverbs 26:11”.
I am very self-aware not to judge people because I have been judged wrongly. I have been viewed wrongly. Sometimes I deserved it, other times, I do not. I have been condemned when I have only tried to do the right thing or abide by the rule. I am also self-aware that I am far from perfect and I will offend many from time to time save for God’s grace and I have not been given on some occasions a light hand, therefore I know and I understand, how it feels especially if others do not know your story or have the full picture, before they judge you.
Having said this, I also believe that when you allow people’s action come to play when you are to make important decisions that involves them or will affect your life, you are not judging them. It is also important to let you know that, if people have once done us wrong and they are able to proof beyond reasonable doubt that they have become a better/changed person, then this is fine.
When Jesus told us that by their fruits we shall know them, He was simply warning us. It is left for us to pay attention to the warning signals we see.
This is the scripture I have been sharing with as many as God has given me to counsel: “Wisdom is the principal thing; get wisdom; and with all thy getting, get understanding. Proverbs 4:7 KJV.
I also find the Children’s International bible Version very simple to understand and I share with you from proverbs 3: 13 – 18. “Happy is the person who finds wisdom. And happy is the person who gets understanding. Wisdom is worth more than silver. Wisdom is worth more profit than gold. Wisdom is more precious than rubies. Nothing you want is equal to it. With her right hand, wisdom offers you long life, with her left hand, she gives you riches and honor. Wisdom will make your life pleasant. It will bring you peace. As a tree makes fruit, wisdom gives life to those who use it. Everyone who uses wisdom will be happy”.
Finally, therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good… … Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up … Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.
But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Hebrews 13: 16 KJV.
I am currently reading a book entitled Beautiful Tombs by Madga King. Like my friend said to me after I gave her a copy as a gift “Feyikemi, this is a call to repentance for us all. I have not read a book like this in a long time” I am reading Beautiful Tombs now and this is true. This book brings me to a place of repentance. A place where I am constantly conscious of the rapture. Please check it out on amazon.
Do not forget to share your experience with me or your wise counsel, in the comment box below.
Lots of love
By Hannah Oyewole @ www.inspirationwithhannah.com