A tree is known by its fruit. I love the visual element of this truth when compared to a fruit tree. What is unseen( the inward character) becomes revealed outwardly (through actions and deeds) We can inspect the fruit to confirm the health of the tree. What a man professes to be can always be confirmed or disproved by what he does.
LUKE 6:43-45 43. “For a good tree does not bear bad (corrupt fruit), nor does a bad (corrupt) tree bear good fruit.
44. “For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush.
45. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
The story Jesus tells about the good Samaritan comes to mind when I think about the idea of knowing a tree by its fruit.
Parable of the good Samaritan
LUKE 10:30-36 “and Jesus answering said, a certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
31. and by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32. and likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
33. but a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
34. And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
35. and on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendeth more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
36. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor”
What you do proves who you are more than what you say about yourself or pretend to be. In this story, the Priest and the Levite (religious leaders) were the ones you would expect to show compassion but instead the word hypocrite comes to mind. The Samaritan was the unlikely hero who displayed great compassion. So if we want to judge a person, we should do it from their actions. Inspecting the fruit.
|The Robbers||Priest and Levite||The Samaritan|
|Rob him||Harm him by inaction||Pays for him|
|Leave him dying||Leave him unhelped||Leaves him cared for|
|Abandon him||Neglected him||Promises to return|
Walvoord, John F., and Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.), 1983, 1985.