For no good tree bears bad fruit,
nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit,
for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.
A tree is identified by the fruit it produces. I don’t look at an apple tree while pondering what kind of tree it is. I know it’s an apple tree because of the fruit hanging from its branches. Their fruit is their identifier.
Similarly, you and I are known by the fruit we produce. Our actions, words, gestures, and choices tell the world who we are. They’re our message to the outside world. What if you were identified by the fruit that you produce?
Words Flow From My Heart
Gossip is one a common struggle among women. Words reflect the heart AND character. Proverbs 4:23 says everything I do flows from heart. Even Jesus spoke of the heart:
For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
The tongue is quite a small part of the body, but it can have a great impact. It tells the world who we are.
How do you know if you’re gossiping?
Here are few good indicators:
· If you’re speaking out of pride or bitter jealousy
· If you’re speaking to boast
· If your aim is to make someone look bad
· If you’re speaking negatively about a person for no apparent reason
Your heart posture (or the motives of your heart) indicates whether speech is gossip or not. What is the purpose in what you are saying?
I know this topic isn’t foreign to Christians today, but Beth Moore has a new perspective. She says, “If you are not fighting it, you are doing it.” This means, if you and I are NOT actively and intentionally fighting against our sinful nature to engage in gossip, then we are gossiping. It is in our sinful nature.
Words have great power. Just think. God SPOKE the world into existence (check out Genesis 1). He spoke and it was. Now that’s power. We speak as if our words don’t matter. However, they can leave a (positive or negative) impact on the one listening.
My words have the power to praise my amazing Savior, as well as curse the people He created (James 3:9). It is hypocrisy to bless God while cursing His creation. An apple tree cannot produce apples AND oranges. Similarly, true believers cannot bless AND curse The Lord.
James 3:2 states that a man who does not stumble in his words is a perfect man. James is speaking of absolute righteousness, that which can only be attained in Heaven. I am not striving for perfection, but for holiness. God is sanctifying me daily. Praise Him for His patience and grace!
When I speak negatively, I destroy relationships.
When I gossip, I destroy character.
When I speak sarcastically, I destroy communication.
When I grumble, I destroy unity.
When I speak honestly, I am creating trust.
When I speak forgiveness, I create healing.
When I speak encouragement, I create confidence.
When I speak lovingly, I create transparency.
(paraphrased from Jen Wilkin)
What fruit should we be producing?
Galatians 5 tells us the fruit we should be producing (through the Spirit dwelling in us). They are as follows: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Strive for holiness.
Speak with integrity.
Seek God to determine your words.
Silence is often times necessary. (See Matthew 26:63)