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Walking in the fruit of the spirit
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Tanya M. Wilson is an inspirational speaker and writer living in Charlotte. Her column, "360 You," is published here each Saturday. Visit her website at www.360you.net.

Life is comprised of many lessons, all designed to confirm us or grow us. Despite some repeat lessons in my life, they have all played a significant role in shaping who I am today.

For a number of years, I believed that everybody had my best interest at heart. Even within my circle of “sisters and brothers at the church,” I was quick to elevate those who spoke the name of the Lord or said something “godly.” I failed to realize that regardless of what is said, thought or done, we are all human beings subject to our own humanisms.

Matthew 7:18-20 focuses on “the fruit of the spirit,” a message that could be compared to a nugget of wisdom once shared by Maya Angelou, who said: “When people show you who they are, you must believe them.”

I didn’t do that. I continued to focus on what was being said. In many instances, as I look back, the truth was right before my eyes, but I wanted to believe otherwise.

I take responsibility for those times of disappointment, sadness and hurt. At those times, my thought process was faulty. I failed to remember the lessons of Matthew 7:18-20, as well as the wisdom of Maya Angelou.

Rather than curling into a fetal position and spending time being emotionally distraught, I should have taken the opportunity to model what the fruit of the spirit looks like.

Encounters that are rooted in those fruit -- love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance -- could heal a lot of wounded warriors.

I soon realized that change had to begin with me. Change meant that when faced with fruitless encounters, I needed to respond with fruit. Fruitless plus fruitless only equaled fruitless.

The lesson learned was that if I wanted to have a different experience, I had to boldly walk in the fruit for which I was searching. In doing that, there was a strong possibility that my example just might catch on.

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October 9, 2015
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