“Every good tree produces beautiful fruit, and every rotten tree produces bad fruit.” (Matthew 7:17)
How do you know whether to trust someone?
I was once in a bad situation beyond anything I could deal with myself. A woman—not someone I knew well—helped me. She gave me support, understanding, and good advice.
To this day, I trust her. I know her actions come from a good place.
Another time, I was talking privately to an acquaintance, and he spoke about a mutual friend with a viciousness that stunned me. After that, I knew to be wary of him.
People show you whether they are coming from a place of goodwill or a place of malice—a place of truth or a place of untruth. Just pay attention to what they say and do.
This is especially important in religion. Not everyone who speaks of God is godly.
Far from calling for blind faith, Jesus wants you to use your innate capacity for discernment.
It shouldn’t be hard. Just as we can easily tell a fresh orange from a rotten orange, we can tell the difference between beautiful actions and ugly actions. It is the beautiful actions that reflect God’s presence in a person’s heart.
We are not to judge others, but we are to judge whether to place our trust in them.
When I was in my early twenties, I heard about a spiritual teacher. Though I had never met her, I thought she could help me. I sent her a foolish email expressing my desire to be guided by her. I knew almost nothing about her. Thankfully, she never replied.
So, instead of handing over my spiritual life to a stranger, I began to develop trust in that inner sense that knows the difference between good fruit and bad.
Be honest and clear-headed. Use God’s gift of discernment. Who you trust determines who you become.