In Matthew 7, Jesus spoke about knowing a tree by its’ fruit. To paraphrase, you can recognize whether a tree is good or bad by whether its’ fruit is (or brings about) good or bad. This is an interesting test to put against many things in life.
Take what we eat, for example. If we’re looking at our diet, we should be able to determine whether that diet is good or bad simply by observing the results. If we’re feeling healthy and have a steady stream of energy, clearly it was a good diet. Getting more specific, we can use that to temper habits of ours that could go either way. Drinking caffeine or alcohol in moderation could be recognized as “good fruit”, however doing so in excess could clearly be seen as “bad fruit” based on all the negative consequences we would see (or premeditate). The reflection on our choices is very important for us to remain “in tune”.
This test can be applied to many other things. I’m fond of the Medjugorje story and all that’s been happening there, so let’s look at that. If you are to focus on the fruits of what’s been happening there, clearly these events represent a “good tree”. Countless conversions, vocations and miraculous healings have come about over the duration of these inexplicable events, all of which are clearly “good fruit”. Whatever is behind these events, this is a “good tree”.
Anytime we’re faced with some difficult choices, project your thoughts towards the potential outcomes of each course of action. Do you see more good fruit coming from one side than the other (or bad fruit)? If so, you know your path. Looking backwards, this can help us reflect on past decisions and decide whether we did the right thing or could have acted differently. This is an important part of our self-observation as it will allow us to constantly improve in all areas of our lives.
While this may seem like simply placing a new label on a simple concept, I think this act of meditating on the fruits of a decision/action (whether it’s in the past or upcoming) is one that will allow each of us to be better versions of ourselves. As with everything else I’ve discussed, it comes down to awareness, observation and the desire to improve.