In today's society, behavior is being tolerated and even promoted that deeply bothers the conscience of many people. Those people will either try to change the way they think (become more “liberal”) or they will suffer continually as they see long upheld values eroding like the seashore in the midst of a storm. The waves of immoral behavior beat against the upright conscience until it seems that no one will be able to stand. The only support that a sensitive conscience can get in these times of challenge is clinging to the wisdom of COMMON SENSE found in observing the FRUIT of the tree.
Trees come and trees go, but the way you can really judge what kind of tree it is will come on the day when you can see the fruit of the tree. So, perhaps at first situations are not so clear. It may be confusing, like trying to know the species and quality of a young tree before it matures. But once it comes to maturity, you examine the fruit and it is judgment day for the tree. So, why cannot we use the same “common-sense” measuring system for judging behavior?
For example, we can scream all day about the rights of people to divorce their spouses, but what does it do to the children of that marriage and ultimately the whole society? Today most marriages end in divorce, breaking their “vows.” What has this done to us? A person has to be blind to not see the bad fruit of divorce. So, what is the solution? Our society says: “No Solution? just try to do what feels best to you, and if others must suffer it is sad, but too bad.”
For example, children are raised without discipline, allowed to do whatever they feel and whatever they are inclined to do, with little accountability. They are put in front of a television that promotes immorality and violence. They are given video games that are full of murder and hostility? Oh, here comes the fruit? The children have become foul-mouthed, gun-toting wrecks that seem lost in a maze with no boundaries? This is “FRUIT.” Surprise, surprise! For some reason our children are not growing up like our hard-working grandparents who were conscientious and kept their word, guarding their “good name” and their scruples.
It seemed like a good idea to Dr. Spock to recommend we quit spanking our children for their disobedience, because spankings seemed too harsh. When we heard about our grandparents “going to the woodshed” for some misbehavior as children, we cringed and said, “Oh, that must have hurt, Grandpa!” Grandpa would laugh and say, “Well, it taught me a good lesson that I surely did not forget!” Strangely he did not seem permanently scarred by his woodshed experience. But we are more modern now and we will deal with misbehaviors in a much more civilized manner? It was a young tree and no one could see that what the fruit was like. We stubbornly refused to listen to age-old wisdom, from not only Jewish/Christian scriptures, but also the writing of the Muslims and the Hindu who recommend spankings to form proper conduct patterns in children. No, we were too smart to listen to that “archaic philosophy”. So, now the little tree is bigger? and the fruit starts to drop off the tree. It is bitter and full of worms.
We hear news of school violence and we have no idea what to do. The polls about the behavior of teenagers in public schools show appalling statistics of disrespect and violence that often fills the world news stations. Little thirteen-year-old children are driven to mass murder to express the anguish of their souls.
Why are they not happy? They have everything their little hearts could desire. They sleep in soft beds, have all the clothes they want, spend the afternoons riding on their skateboards, and the evenings hanging out at the malls? So, why aren't they happy? The little tree shows bad signs? Bad fruit.
Grandpa never had to worry about that. He looked forward to a little free time from his chores on Sundays. But during the week he spent his mornings in school and his afternoons working with his father on the farm or in the family business. He was only provided a “summer vacation” from his schooling because his family needed him to care for the pressing needs of planting and harvest. He fell into bed at night a tired boy and rose early to go to study with a teacher who demanded his total attention and respect. Should he err in his behavior, the “rod and reproof” met his misdeeds face on. He learned quickly that he had no space to rebel. He found security in that routine, and became one of the great men that most of us know our grandparents to be. So, what happened to this generation?
Fruit? It always comes back to fruit. We can have good ideas, but when the fruit comes in we can see the wisdom of all our ideas. It is sad, isn't it, that we cannot learn from the lessons of previous generations? Time-proven wisdom has been passed on to us. We do have some smart grandparents who can let us know what to do. They will not be around long, and some of them are already gone. If there would not be a written record of their wisdom all would be lost? But, it has been written, and it has been proven.
It is recorded in the Scriptures, “You will know a tree by its fruit? If the fruit is bad, the tree is bad? Make the tree good and the fruit will be good? Wisdom is proven by its children (fruit)? “Spare the rod, spoil the child.”
Though the scholars in their ivory towers may continue to try to tell us that their theory of child training is the most correct and civilized way, their fruit is rotten?
The way of our great grandparents here in America shows us a different story. Though they have been criticized as puritanical, were the moral codes of our forefathers in this country really that bad? Did they not produce a nation that excelled so greatly that it became the leading nation of the world in just two hundred years? It was the backbone of moral behavior that caused this and every nation to stand. It is only when that standard starts to erode that terminal warnings appear. Fruit? It is the fruit of a society that has lost its vitality and turned to wanton pleasure. “If it feels good do it? If you want to say something vulgar, say it? If you are immoral, flaunt it?” The waves of change beat against the soul of the conscientious man.
But what if someone tries to do something about it?
What if we could start again? Could he restore the old foundations upon which a man can build a moral life for himself and his children? What if he wants to be kind, be polite, marry as a virgin, remain monogamous? Hah, you say, you would have to move to a desert island to live with values like that in this society.
For today the unsuspecting may only switch on the TV and find themselves in the middle of someone's private sex act, and it is just the commercial on the six o'clock news. How can we avoid these defilements? Just send your child to the corner store and he will see naked women on every magazine cover? how can a young man keep himself pure?
These conflicts in the soul are the cause of the “stress” that most attribute to major health problems.
There is a commentary on the direction of society written by a great man many years ago, Ezekiel the Prophet (recorded in Ezekiel 16:49-52 ). It was about a society that was slipping quickly into destruction. This great man was very correct in his analysis of the moral climate of his day and where it would lead them. It was a commentary on the state of a society we all have heard about ? “Sodom and Gomorrah.” It has been immortalized in all of our dictionaries with only the one sensational part of their history in the word “sodomy.” But there is much more to their story, for this is only the fruit of a tree gone bad.
For it was not just a few random acts of bad behavior which caused Sodom and Gomorrah to merit fire and brimstone. Previously that society appears to have been a very blessed one. It was looked upon by observers as the most prosperous and desirable area in dwell in. But it was their own prosperity that caused their ultimate demise, for once their life-style became very comfortable for them, they began to grow fat and relaxed and very proud. It was reported that there was “abundant ease” ? lots of free time, lots of time to get into trouble. It was also reported that there was abundant food ? no more need to work by the sweat of your brow daily to gain your food. And then the final blow to their society ? they became totally “self concerned” and had no compassion for the ones they might hurt or the ones who were suffering in the society.
In this state they were fair game for every abominable practice that entered their minds. “An idle mind is the devil's workshop.” And what comes out of his workshop is very bad fruit.
That same great man prophesied that a generation would come later on in history who would follow the same path, the same principle. But they would be even worse. And their destruction would be even greater than that of Sodom and Gomorrah. A current appraisal of the ethics of our society today strongly suggests a greater degradation of values than in any previous society.
So, what will be the fruit of this current trend in Western society? Can we ignore the bitter fruit? Common Sense teaches us not to be ashamed to judge a tree by its fruit. Taking a stand for what is right will strengthen the heart of every man.
A new social order is being established that will restore the age-old values and dignity of mankind. Please drop in one of our locations to discuss more about these thoughts.