Readings: 2 Kings 22:8-13, 23:3-5; Matthew 7:15-20
By their fruits you will know them.
We continue to hear Jesus’ teaching from the Sermon on the Mount and today’s warning about false prophets adds a nuance to the warning from a couple of days ago about our judging. That was not an invitation to passivity or denial or to face life uncritically.
By their fruits you will know them. Not judge them but we’d better know them, recognize false prophets for what they are and not follow them! Yes, indeed, leave their trial, judgment and sentencing to God, but truly know these characters for what they are. Taking a decision is not the same as making a judgment.
Conversely, the fruits of some unlikely characters may prove them not to be enemies of God or opponents of Christ. By their fruits you will know them.
In our polarized society, I believe we cannot afford to forget this teaching, especially for ourselves. It is not enough for me to apply a pre-determined policy position to concrete situations or people. In the concrete, I must examine what would be the fruit, the consequence, of this choice as opposed to that, in the light of the person, example and teaching of Jesus? Does this embody the Gospel or serve only serve my interests, insulate my fears, compound my selfishness? Likewise, these people I disagree with–what is the fruit of their actions in their lives? Am I failing to see them as three dimensional human people because I’m only chafing at their opinions that rub me the wrong way?