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Judging Pears
Photo: Studiomill
There is a Bartlett pear tree in our yard that was planted before we bought our property twenty-five years ago. When we began looking over our three acres of land, which we were thrilled about after living in town, we spied that tree and were so excited! A mature fruit tree already in operation. What a blessing!

In spring, the tree was so covered with blossoms that it looked like a giant white powder puff. It was gorgeous! Slowly, the spring showers forced the blossoms to drop, leaving little baby pears all over the tree. The pears grew to be large, beautiful specimens, and we would salivate at the potential we saw before us. The fruit grew all summer. When fall arrived, we kept a close eye on the tree, knowing that it must be getting close to picking time. We took the harvest instructions of neighbors and people who had grown pears for years.

However, when it was time to pick, we found that while the pears were perfect in color, shape, and size, they left quite a bit to be desired beyond that. They were very hard, so we assumed we were picking too soon. Waiting didn't change anything, though. Even after frost, which was suggested by some, the fruit was the same. Hard, gritty, and not juicy. It just seemed that they weren't ripe, but even after winter began, the ones that had fallen to the ground were still hard.

No Cure

We took a sample to the county extension service and they verified that our pear tree had a disease that keeps the fruit from maturing beyond a certain point. There was no cure for it. No matter how healthy the fruit looked, it would never ripen.

What a disappointment! And what an illustration that you can't judge by outward appearances. It can work both ways, too. Something—or someone—can look wrong on the outside and be sweet and mature on the inside. When we find out, we might exclaim, "Wow, who knew?" The obvious answer is that we didn't!

Circumstances in my life over the last several months have caused me to step off the judgment seat that I have too often been inclined to position myself upon, and take my humble place as a fellow sojourner in this world of challenges. While it is true that we can judge someone by their fruits, we need to be very humble and careful about the whole fruit before reaching a verdict.

I remember hearing a speaker say, "God is God and I am not." Well said. There is a reason why God is the judge. He alone knows the whole story, inside and out. Our job is to nurture each other in our growing.

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By Gwen Scott Simmons. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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