Brood of Vipers
Brood of Vipers
The way to attack someone is to the attack that person's motives. It is said Christians do what they do because they think they're better than anyone else. Christ points out two things.
· The impossibility for an evil person consistently do good works. Hypocrites may imitate this for a while, but it can't be kept up. So if you see someone consistently doing good works, it shows goodness of heart. As good works come from the heart, so do our words. If you hear anger and slander coming from someone consistently, you have a window onto their soul.
The world understands this; it's just that it's not convenient. Mother Theresa was honored by all for her good works; what a difficulty she posed to "modern thinkers" with her condemnation of abortion!
Note Christ's words: "Make a tree good." This implies that a tree can be changed; that one which is producing nothing of value can be changed. The garden shops are full of fertilizers and implements to do just that. So it is that we can turn from our evil ways and bear fruit for Christ. The evidence of such change is the love and compassion we show to those around us. Note that our works are not our salvation, anymore than pinning apples on a cactus would make it an apple tree. But they show our salvation being worked out in us.
Our words, too, show what is in our heart. Most of us have trouble keeping our mouths from saying what our minds are thinking! Here we see the characteristics of those who hearts are evil:
· They are first a brood—some translations have "generation" - meaning that they come close to each other for mutual support and courage.
· They are a brood of vipers—the word conjures up the snake, Satan, in the Garden. They are those who seek to destroy by sly ambush and sneering tone.
· They cannot speak what is good; their hearts are evil. Have you noticed that those who favor abortion also favor homosexuality, adultery and fornication as being desirable?
Our works and our words show what we are. But—praise the Lord—we can be changed. Let us make the tree good, and bear great fruit for our Lord.