Fruit Inspectors ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life
If anyone hinted, especially in his tightly-knit community, that people should be careful not to judge others, my father-in-law would counter with a wry grin, "OK, but there's nothing to stop us from being fruit inspectors!"
He knew his Bible well, and left us in no doubt that he was referring to the observation of Jesus Christ on humankind "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?... A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit" (Matt. 7:16, 18).
This scripture makes it clear that we will bear the type of fruit consistent with our nature. It suggests that we should be able to expect growth and good fruit from those who follow the teachings of Christ and live a spiritual life.
One such follower explained that the varied fruits of the Spirit include love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (see Gal. 5:22,23). And my father-in- law used to point out that it's hard to express one of these qualities without expressing at least some of the others. They interact with and reinforce one another.
Mary Baker Eddy, who established this newspaper, wrote, "If our hopes and affections are spiritual, they come from above, not from beneath, and they bear as of old the fruits of the Spirit" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 451).
These "hopes" and "affections" relate to the identity of each one of us as children of God, in which we are "in a degree as perfect as the Mind that forms" us (Science and Health, pg. 337). They give evidence of a spiritual identity that is the work of the divine Mind. And they are fulfilled by what the Apostle Peter called "the wonderfully varied grace of God" (1 Pet. 4:11, "The New Testament in Modern English," by J.B. Phillips.
With hindsight, I realize that my father-in-law expected to find evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in others, and spent much of his spare time showing others how to cultivate and care for what he called their "fruit-trees. …