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Personal: Fruits of the Spirit 4

May 9, 2011

My thoughts here are for my edification. I have definite opinions that are, for lack of better terms, of a conservative bent and will most likely offend on some level readers of this blog. My intent is not to offend. Nor is it to open up to debate my personal beliefs. If my beliefs cannot be respected, please do not continue reading this post and come back on another day.

So I’m not quite doing this weekly, but I am trying.

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.
Matthew 12:33

This is phrased a bit differently from the passage in Luke 6:43-45. In the Luke passage the trees, be they good or bad, represent a human being. It talks about bearing good fruit and being recognized by the type of fruit it produces.

The verb “Make” in Matthew gives me pause. Even more so than in Luke, this passage speaks to me about my responsibility as a parent to nurture in love and admonition my children. They too are trees and I must cultivate them, fertilize them, weed and prune them, in an effort to help them produce good fruit of their own.

And one day they will stand in their orchard and they will either be harvested or cast out.

People do overcome the bad situations in life that would certainly make them a bad tree. People can come from all the best circumstances and choose to let their lives spiral out of control. People can only use their past as a crutch for so long before they have to take responsibility for their own lives. Truly, is a mother who did her best responsible for her 40-year-old slacker? At what point is the child to blame for his or her actions or inactions?

T1 came to me the other night, clutching a bear she’d had since infancy, with tears in her eyes. She clung to me and said, “I don’t want to go to middle school. I don’t want to grow up.”

I told her that as much as I would want her to remain a child, grow up she must. But I also said that she didn’t have to grow up too fast and she needed to stay innocent. She asked me how she could do that.

1. choose your friends wisely
2. don’t read books or watch TV that is not for young eyes and hearts
3. be careful about the music you listen to
4. don’t be anxious to have a boyfriend
5. stay away from bullies and don’t be a bully yourself
6. understand that your job is to just do as good in school as you can; do your job and stay out of trouble

She asked me how I dealt with going to middle school. “Oh, honey, I was the youngest. I couldn’t wait. But I had good friends and I made good choices. Not all the time later, but in middle school I did.”

“I would love for you to stay a child but if you are not independent and self-sufficient, then Daddy and I haven’t done our job.”

I will say, having both T1 and T2 make their own minds up about wanting to be obedient to Christ and put Him on in baptism for the remission of sins was a huge relief. I did learn, though, that in so many ways my job has really just begun. They are so young and still learning about their faith and their walk. I can’t be content with “well, they were baptized so I can have that peace of mind” if they stray and make bad choices. I have to do everything I can in these short 18 years they have been entrusted to me and I have to let them know they will be responsible for their choices and actions.

I used to pray to let me see them grow to be obedient. Now I pray to let me see them grow to stay faithful and to find spouses to help them on that walk. And this is not for me–not so that I will be recognized for them–this is for them out of my love for them, so that they will be recognized as producing good fruit of their own.

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One comment

  1. We discussed this very scripture in Bible Study tonight at Church!!



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