But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
My mother was a Shakespearean fan. She could recite many lines from the Bard’s plays from memory. When I was a young girl, Mother taught me the following passage from “Hamlet”: “To thine own self be true, and it shall follow as the night the day thou shalt not then be false to any man.” It took me many years to understand what my mother was trying to tell me. I finally figured out that the passage had to do with character. When a person recognizes her own values and is comfortable with who she is, it is important for her to remain true to those values. If she is able to stand for what she believes in and not falter in the wake of negative peer pressure, she has indeed grown into herself. At first, this philosophy seemed somewhat selfish or even narcissistic to me. But as I matured myself, I realized my mother was giving me an important tool to use throughout my life.
As Christians, we can rewrite Shakespeare’s words slightly: “To our Lord be true, and it shall follow as the night the day we cannot then be false to any other person.” Those of us who choose to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and believe that He is the Son of God realize that our relationship with Christ helps us in human relationships as well. What Jesus called “the fruit of the Spirit” (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) provide us with the basis for dealing with others in a fair and just manner. Shakespeare had a good idea; he just needed to give God the glory.
Lord Jesus, we thank You for teaching us how to allow You to love others through us. Stir in us the desire to see others as You see them. Help us to be true to You so that we cannot be false to those around us. Amen