You know how they pack strawberries in those plastic containers, sometimes hiding the mushy or blemished ones? Well, according to an esteemed opinion, I have a knack for choosing strawberry packages well. Looking at the outside fruits critically can reveal possible issues with the berries within. I can choose a fair blueberry or apple, too. I chose three avocados last Saturday and made my first guacamole—a nice success.
I can also see fruit in others’ lives from time to time . . . and the implications run deeper there.
Long ago, I was acquainted with a charismatic (read: affirms and claims all the miraculous “gifts of the Spirit” now) Christian. He was invited in to guest-teach an adult Bible class in a non-charismatic church. This class was not exactly cutting-edge, but it included some relatively open-minded folks who wanted to grow, so I figure they intentionally reached out to this guy—an acquaintance of a member of the class—so he could instruct them more accurately in the ways of the Spirit of God. Come to find out, he was having an affair with the married woman who was his connection to the class. The activities might not have been sexual at the time he taught the class, but at the very least, being involved illicitly in emotional adultery, he should have judged himself unworthy to speak of the guidance of the Spirit of God in his life.
People who claim to be followers ought not to act or speak in certain ways. Further, the claim that God indwells, i.e., lives in us is a claim with which we ought to be pretty careful. If a guy asserts that he has miraculous abilities given directly by God’s Spirit, I figure that same Spirit ought to keep the person from obvious, egregious sins. A Christian marriage broken by a supposedly Spirit-filled Christian? I judge that fruit decisively.
Here’s another post in a similar vein: https://blcasey.wordpress.com/2010/11/27/inconsistent-behaviors-disrespecting-god/
Some say Christians shouldn’t “judge” but may be “fruit inspectors.” I say that’s probably just a semantic distinction.
That was easy. Now to the hard part: me. Judging within God’s household is entirely appropriate, and I don’t have many people nearby that I consider part close to me in that household, but there are some. What are the people of God seeing when they assess the fruit in my life? It’s also important for me to be cognizant of what nonbelievers and less committed believers are seeing in my “fruit bin.” Even if they are less discerning than I, or though have different baggage (doesn’t everybody?), or if they have wronged me, or if they are moving away from God rather than toward Him at the time they cross my path, they are no less valuable to the Father. I need to bear good fruit in order to be a good representative to all, whether they (1) reject the Christ, (2) claim Him, or (3) claim and intentionally, noticeably honor Him.