(From Part 5: The Fruit of the Spirit)
Our friend Theo was butchering and dressing a number of pigs, hard and messy work. There was a guy in town he’d met, Adam, who Theo had asked to come and help. It wasn’t only about free labour. Theo wanted the chance to hang out with Adam.
The challenge, he soon discovered, was Adam’s cursing. Not just occasionally, but every sentence. And not just ordinary cussing, but blasphemous profaning, putting Jesus into the middle of expletives, in a way that was sickly quite creative.
After a short time, Theo thought, “This isn’t working at all. I am going to deck this bloke in a minute.”
Theo asked the Holy Spirit what he should do, and was given a real-time solution. It came in the moment. Theo sensed the Holy Spirit say that every time he curses, tell him I love him.
“Really?” was Theo’s response.
But that’s what he did. “That afternoon,” Theo recounted to me, “I must’ve said forty times, ‘Jesus loves you Adam!’ or ‘Man he loves you.’”
The fruit firstly changed Theo. Theo’s eyes started to shine with love for Adam in the midst of behaviour that was abhorrent to him. So much so, that he couldn’t wait for the next chance to see him, in order to tell him some more how much Jesus loves him.
Theo didn’t have to wait long. They met at the cool room the next day to finish cutting up the butchered pigs. Sure enough, Adam picked up with the blasphemies right where he’d left off.
So did Theo. “Adam, when you wake up in the morning, Father goes, ‘You beauty, he’s awake!’ That’s how much he loves you.”
Two weeks later, Adam came along to the community gathering held at Theo and Linda’s local church. They shared a meal, they talked of Jesus—minus the cussing—and Adam found a place of belonging. He was baptised not long after. Needless to say, Adam is different and so is his language.
His eyes have begun to shine.
What did Theo really do that day?
He used the gifts and abilities he had, invited someone else into his space, gave welcome and acceptance, and was open to the Holy Spirit’s leading.
In all of this, he shared fruit.
That day, Adam was told he was loved more than in his entire life. More than once, Theo needed to pray for self-control and dole out patience, truckloads of it. Simply inviting Adam into his life, along with the time, meals, and fathering Theo gave him, were expressions of kindness, goodness, and generosity. There was faithfulness to what Holy Spirit had directed Theo to do with Adam. The result is joy and peace.
You don’t have to kill a pig to do it. You just give out the fruit you’ve received.