People can say the stupidest things. People can do the most hurtful things. Why is that?

Have you been trying to understand why some people talk bad about you? Have you been trying to process why some people have treated you so poorly? Have you been trying to make sense of why they did that to you?

What is it that someone said that still has you all stirred up? What is it that they did that just took the wind right out of your sails? Are you ready to let that go? Are you ready to let God heal your soul and bring back your spark?

Y’all know I love me some Lisa Harper. She is one of the wisest women I’ve ever known while also being one of the funniest. She knows her bible and she loves her Jesus, and I trust her to teach me. Lisa tells a story of being a single woman at the age of 40, never married and never had any children, who felt prompted to adopt an orphan. A woman in her small group pulled her aside, mis-quoted a scripture and twisted it to mean something it didn’t, and told her because of her own trauma as a child she shouldn’t adopt for fear of passing down abuse to her child. Instead, she should adopt a pet.

And that’s exactly what Lisa did. She filed her adoption application in the very back of the drawer and she tucked away the dream of being a mother to a child. Instead she adopted a chocolate lab with a bladder control problem. 10 years later, Lisa had healed enough from this woman’s harmful words, that she took that adoption application out of the drawer and turned it in. At the age of 50, she adopted a precious baby girl with AIDS from Haiti and it changed her whole world.

When Lisa tells the story of this woman who shamed her dreams, she explains it so perfectly. She says, “that woman had gone through things that turned her into a twisted little tree and she wasn’t bearing good fruit.” Well isn’t that a perspective!

The person who said those things about you, the person who did those things to you, they have gone through things that have turned them into a twisted little tree and they’re not bearing good fruit. Can you hear what they’re saying or see what they’ve done and simply say, “that’s not good fruit.”

And honey, if it’s not good fruit, stop trying to pick it up and take it home with you! You don’t have to eat their bad fruit.

Jesus says in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”

When we are attached to Jesus, we produce fruit in our lives, good fruit. However when we become disconnected from Jesus, we bare absolutely nothing good. This is where bad fruit is produced.

What does our fruit look like when we’re attached to Jesus? Galatians 5: 22-26 MSG, “He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” That’s good fruit.

What does bad fruit look like? The exact opposite. When we are disconnected from Jesus, we grow a jealousy toward others, negativity about life, anxiety. We develop the bad habit of quitting and giving up, a sense of entitlement, and a general pessimistic view of everyone and everything. We find ourselves cheating, forcing, twisting. Yes, this is a twisted little tree producing bad fruit.

Check your fruit. Is it good?
Check your connection. Is it Jesus?

Check their fruit. Is it good?
Check their connection. Is it Jesus?

You don’t need another person in your life giving you bad advice. You don’t need one more person to speak negativity, doom and gloom, or gossip. In fact, you need zero of those people. You need none of that fruit. You eat their fruit and you bring their problems into your life.

However, they need your fruit. They need your compassion. They need your affection. They need your serenity. Don’t hate them, they’re a twisted tree. The winds of life have twisted and confused them. They’re hurting, poisoned from the bad fruit they’ve been producing in their life. Can you give to them without accepting their bad fruit? Can you show compassion, knowing they’ve been twisted, but not be sucked into the toxic twist yourself?

As we stay close to Jesus, he produces these beautiful fruits in our lives. And I assure you, good fruit attracts all kinds of people. Everybody wants some of your kindness. Everybody wants a piece of your goodness. Yes, including the twisted trees producing only bad fruit in their lives. Especially the twisted trees, you are their only source of good fruit.

Can’t you feel the wind blowing against your own branches? Wind that tells you people are just trying to use you. Wind that tells you no one can be trusted. Wind that tells you to shut it down, build your walls, and not let them in. Oh my sister, that wind is trying to twist you! Don’t let it. Don’t let what has happened to you twist you. Don’t let it harden you. Don’t let it change your love for people.

The enemy wins when we stop loving. The enemy wins when the trees producing good fruit become twisted too.

The gift Jesus brings into our life is “a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people.” It’s seeing the good, believing the good, championing the good. This is how we stay untwisted.

See people for who they are. Some are trees producing good fruit because of who they’re attached to. Others are twisted trees producing bad fruit because they are disconnected. Not because they are bad, simply because they have been twisted. They’ve been hurt. They’ve been tricked. They’ve been confused.

Love them anyway. Show them compassion anyway. Choose to see the good in them anyway. You have good fruit, go ahead and offer your fruit. Just don’t accept theirs.

If you could peak inside my emails, you would be blown away. Whew, the bad fruit offered to me on the daily is crazy. People telling me they don’t like me, disagree with me, are disappointed with the things I say or don’t say. Gosh, that used to hurt me. And do you know what hurt people do? They hurt people. If I respond in hurt, I hurt them back. Then everyone is hurt and we’re all twisted.

Now, I’m learning, oh, that’s just bad fruit. I’m checking it against the good fruit list and nope, it’s not good. So I’m not going to eat it. It won’t get inside of me. It won’t twist me. It won’t cause me to throw bad fruit back.

Check the fruit. Is it bad fruit? Don’t eat it. Don’t let it get inside of you. Don’t let it twist you. Stay connected to Jesus and your good fruit will continue. Offer your good fruit, even to those who are a little twisted. Isn’t that what Jesus would do?

What is it you want in your life? Do you want to be excited about life? Do you want peace? Do you want the willingness to actually stick with things? Do you want to see the good in everything and everyone? Do you want to let life flow in a way that brings you energy instead of exhausting you? That’s what grows in your life when you’re attached to Jesus!

But honey, if you’re attached to your phone, attached to your work, attached to your past, attached to your friends, or attached to some man other than Jesus, you get twisted. You become jealous. You become negative about life and are filled with anxiety. You start giving up, become entitled, and completely negative. You start forcing life and end up being overwhelmed and exhausted. Check your connection.

Fruit don’t lie. What are you producing? What are you accepting?

When you are hurt, when they talk, remember that’s just a twisted little tree who’s been blown by the circumstances of life, and that’s just bad fruit. See it for what it is, and then don’t eat it.

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