You Will Know Them by Their Fruit

I recently came across a story that caused me to laugh out loud when I read it.

An honest man was being tailgated by a stressed-out woman on a busy boulevard.

Suddenly, the light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.

The tailgating woman hit the roof, and the horn, screaming in frustration as she missed her chance to get through the intersection. As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up. He took her to the police station where she was searched, finger printed, photographed and placed in a holding cell.

After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects. He said, “I’m very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. “I noticed the ‘Choose Life’ license plate holder, the ‘What Would Jesus Do’ bumper sticker, the ‘Follow Me to Sunday-School’ bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk. Naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car.”

Have you given much thought to the power of your words? Think about how they can affect your relationships. They can build up, give hope and encouragement. Our words can cause people to soar. They can also can tear down, deflate and do great damage.

In Mathew 12:33,34 Jesus says you will know a great deal about someone based on the fruit you see in their lives. He then goes on to say, “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” You can learn a great deal about the condition of one’s heart by listening to them speak.

What’s unfortunate is that words have the power to do damage that can’t be undone. Once you say something, the genie cannot be put back into the bottle. Unfortunately, words can leave scars on a person’s psyche that can last a lifetime.

So what can we do about our words? It starts with the condition of our hearts. What I have learned is that the deeper we go in our relationship with God, the greater the transformation that will take place in our hearts.

Richard E Simmons III is the founder and Executive Director of The Center for Executive Leadership and a best-selling author.


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