Jesus said, "If your brother sins against you seven times a day,
and returns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' forgive him" (Luke 17:4).
In a beautiful village with a bustling town square, Mr. Fruit Promoter sat at his fruit stand and promoted his assorted fruits to all who walked through the market.
Periodically, Mr. Fruit Inspector would come to Mr. Fruit Promoter's stand and stop for a close inspection.
Never a dark spot would he miss. Never a crushed fruit would he overlook. Never a stain would he ignore.
"Get that fruit out of here! Don't you know that one bad apple can spoil the entire stand!"
Mr. Fruit Promoter calmly responded, "Sir, I see the dark spots on my bad apples better than you. I know the oranges that have been crushed and have dried out, and I'm not blind to the stains on my other fruits. However, I can't throw my bad fruit out."
"But you are promoting rotten fruit?"
"All fruit by nature is rotting. Because I'm a Fruit Promoter, I use even my rotten fruit."
Mr. Fruit Inspector argued back, "But rotten fruit is useless!"
"No sir, it's not. You speak as a Fruit Inspector. I'm a Fruit Promoter. Every rotten fruit has seeds within that spring into something new. Every tainted and stained skin on rotten fruit can be used to enrich an entire field of new fruit, creating life out of decay. Because of my love for fruit in general, I can see good in all fruit, regardless of rottenness."
Mr. Fruit Inspector objected, "But you have an obligation to the public to display a perfect fruit stand. You have an obligation to sell only perfect fruit!"
Mr. Fruit Promoter points to the sign in front of his stand which said:
Come, all you who are hungry, come to the stand. If you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy fruit and wine without money and without cost. (Isaiah 55:1)"I'm not in the fruit business to make money or impress people. I'm in the fruit business because I love fruit and want to share that love with others. It's a calling."
Mr. Fruit Inspector made one final argument. "If you promote rotten fruit, you will give people the wrong impression about fruit in general."
"Sir," said Mr. Fruit Promoter, "I still don't think you understand. I promote fruit. You inspect fruit. You are the one calling my fruit rotten. I see the same dark spots that you see, I see the same crushed and bruised skins. I see the same stains. I too am fighting fruit disease. However, I see potential in the future of all my fruit."
Mr. Fruit Inspector walked away in a huff, but turned back and yelled, "You love fruit too much! You are going to ruin the reputation of fruit in general."
To which Mr. Fruit Promoter replied, "Thank you for acknowledging my love for fruit. I'm Mr. Fruit Promoter. I love fruit."