• David Flowers

A Tree Is Known By Its Fruit

In a previous post I said the following… Something I am learning in counseling is how true it is that a tree is known by its fruit. Most of my life I have applied this to people and behaviors, but am only just now learning to apply it to attitudes and perspectives. If an attitude or perspective I have logically bears fruit of resentment, anger, frustration, and other ungodly things, then the attitude or perspective is wrong.

I have been thinking a great deal about this lately. The power of this observation to change my life is stunning. I can look at any negative attitude or emotion in my life, trace it back to the underlying attitude, and find something wrong with that attitude.


1. Let’s say I’m beginning to feel resentful that I am doing so much work around the house and my wife is doing comparatively little (it’s safe to use this example because it would never happen in a million years – my wife is nothing if not a hard worker). I need to ask myself what I really believe is true about my wife’s character. Do I really believe she is lazy? Do I really believe she cares less about the family than I do? If I really believe this, chances are good we would need more help than a quick attitude adjustment would bring us anyway. If I don’t believe this, there’s something wrong with my attitude.

2. Let’s say I loan money to a friend who keeps saying he’s going to pay it back and after three months still has not. I am getting increasingly frustrated and perhaps a bit resentful. My choices here are to confront my friend or to let it go, but either way I must let go of the frustration and resentment and this requires a new attitude — learning to see the whole situation from a new perspective — givng up my claim to having been wronged. Even if I was wronged, hanging onto that claim isn’t going to do any good.

3. Let’s say I am upset with my kids because of stuff they are leaving around the house, and I have perhaps begun to nurse some bitterness toward them. I must remember that parenting is a leadership job, and leaders are always responsible for those they lead. If the kids aren’t being responsible, I have probably failed to teach them responsibility. The bad news here is that the finger of blame points back to me. The good news is that the situaton is probably still within my control if I recognize it and respond accordingly.

4. Let’s say as a leader I see immaturity in the people I lead. See number 3 above.

I cannot think of any exceptions. If an attitude or perspective I have logically bears fruit of resentment, anger, frustration, and other ungodly things, then the attitude or perspective is wrong. It must go, or undergo renovation. The difference between people who attain emotional and spiritual maturity and those who do not is that those who eventually do are willing to realize and apply this truth in their lives.


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