The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. (Galatians 5:22-23)
A lot of brands of Christianity are most concerned with what you are not supposed to do. They have lists of right and wrong, in and out. And of course, there are things we are not supposed to do! So sometimes the things on these lists can be helpful reminders of things to avoid or eradicate from our behavior.
But we have to be careful. Often we overstep and decide that since we as Christians aren’t supposed to do it, neither should anyone else. We judge, legislate and even punish. We can easily (and often are) be seen as people who are more likely to condemn. Many people, especially younger adults, say that the main thing they see in Christians is judgment. And they want little to do with it.
The list of the fruits of the Spirit above is not things that are forbidden. Rather, these are things the Holy Spirit inspires. God is working to encourage us and transform us to look more like Jesus, not with rules and prohibitions, but by inspiring us to be filled with goodness and caring that can only come from God.
This week is Pentecost. We celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit. In our congregation, we will celebrate the confirmation of three young people at the early service. They will stand and share how the Spirit is working in their lives and affirm their baptisms with the love and support and in the presence of the congregation. Our prayer for them, and for all of us, is that we are able to see the fruits of the Holy Spirit in all that we do.