Matthew 7: 15-20
15 ‘Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognise them. Do people pick grapes from thorn-bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognise them.
“Thus, by their fruit you will recognise them.” (v20)
The Bible has many indications that it is not what we believe that truly matters in the end, but who we have been and what we have done. James tells us that faith without works is dead. Jesus separates the sheep and the goats by how they have acted not by how they have worshipped. We are often inclined to judge other people by what they say. If they don’t believe what we believe we are inclined to think that they are wrong, or even that they’re not Christian.
But what do their lives tell us?
Are their lives full of peace and joy? Do others see Jesus in them, even if we don’t agree with what they say? Do they offer grace and forgiveness to others? Are they prepared to do things for others at some cost to themselves? And are not these the things that really count rather than what they believe in their heads and speak with their lips? What would Jesus prefer? Right speaking or right doing?
give us grace to be humble.
To accept that our knowledge is not perfect
and our understanding is not complete.
Give us the humility
to recognise acts of grace
in those with whom we disagree.
Give us the grace
to accept that you know best
and that we, at best, see through a glass darkly.
Give us the modesty
to know how much we do not yet know;
to look to the log in our own eye
before we attempt to remove the speck from our brother’s or sister’s.
help us to be merciful
give credit where credit is due
and recognise that good deeds
are a sign of your presence,
in the most unexpected places, Amen.
Lent Legacy 2021 Action
Write an email / message / letter of thanks to an organisation or group you appreciate, thanking them for their work.
Alternative - Increase your giving to a charity that you trust and believe to be doing good work