How do you live your life?

You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns or figs from thistles?

Matthew 7:16

Dear members and friends,

Whenever people read Matthew 7:16, they may automatically assume that by “fruits” Jesus was referring to human actions. In a way, it is true that actions are the most visible and often most influential expressions of a human being. However, if you were to be asked, “Is an action at any given moment the most accurate and representative expression of your mind?”, you may be puzzled. The truth is simply that our actions are not always the exact representations of the status or nature of our minds. Or worse yet, at times we express ourselves through such actions that we regret afterwards. Furthermore, at any given moment, we may not even be sure of the internal motivations behind our actions. So, what does Jesus really mean by “fruits”? 

According to Confucius, knowing does not mean memorizing books or even understanding what they mean, but being able to actually live in a way one knows to be true. Otherwise, knowing has any meaning only when knowing equals living. One could pretend to know something only as long as one could keep up with the pretense of living. However, as Swedenborg emphasizes in his books many times, the quality of a human being always goes in accordance with one’s heart, and never with one’s knowledge. This is why Jesus points out that “You will know them by their fruits,” meaning we will know the quality of people by how they live their life in all its details and totality, and not by certain actions performed or expressed for occasional necessity or demand. 

My brothers and sisters in God, let us take a moment of reflection on what is in our hearts and how they are represented and expressed by our actions. May God be present within your efforts of living what you believe to be true. 

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee