Here is my list of the opposite of the Fruit of the Spirit that is evident in too many Christians and too many churches:
The opposite of love isn’t hate but indifference, so wrote Nobel laureate, and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel. John seemed to indicate fear would be the opposite, since “perfect love casts our fear” (1 John 4:18). In combining Wiesel and John, we get the picture of love’s opposite. It’s an indifference fueled by fear. Instead of loving our neighbor, it’s fearing anyone different from ourselves. Instead of helping the outlier, it’s fearing they may harm us in some way. Jesus said to “love our neighbor,” we all know this. We would never “hate” them, but our fearful indifference has the same outcome.
Too often in the church, the criticism is not “constructive.” It might be called “constructive criticism” by the criticizer, but generally it is the garden variety, old fashion criticism. Often followed by the words, “so what are you going to do about it, pastor…” Cue: Hands on hips and rapid foot tapping. One can’t be critical and have Joy too. It’s Impossible.
Same with pride and peace. There is no peace when pride is present.
Since patience reveals the Fruit of the Spirit, impatience is its spoiled opposite.
Can a person be kind and complain too? You know the answer to that.
As opposed to goodness. Goodness flows into generosity. Greed keeps anything good to themselves.
I’ve yet to meet the person who is being faithful to God and grumbling too. Three words: Can. Not. Happen.
Cowardly Anonymous letter writing
Cowardly anonymous letter writers are anything but gentle. They are BOOM! Here’s-what’s-wrong-you-or-wrong-with-the-church kind of letters. I’ve yet to read a cowardly anonymous letter that displays “gentleness.” (FYI: It’s one of my life rules– whenever I write the words, “Anonymous Letter,” I automatically must add the adverb “cowardly” before it. I once had a cowardly anonymous letter writer upset at my use of “cowardly” when referring to the cowardly anonymous letters. Suffice it to say, the coward was mad and not very gentle about it. True story).
The tell-tale sign of the spirit filled life: Is self-control present? Unfortunately, I’ve witnessed church leaders show a lack of self-control all the while claiming to be entirely sanctified. The outburst wasn’t like a Jesus-chasing-the-money-changers anger. It was more in the category of a toddler saying “I’m-throwing-a-temper-tantrum-and-there-is-not-a-single-thing-you-can-do-to-stop-me.” In other words, no control. The lack of self-control is why churches split, pastors walk away from assignments, and why little is accomplished in the Kingdom of God.
As you know, spoiled fruit stinks. It attracts fruit flies and other pests. It’s no good. Same with these Spoiled Fruits of the Wrong Spirit. Don’t let them be a part of your day.