Put Away Your Gavel

09/09/2010

 

 

Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. "The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?' 

      'An enemy did this,' he replied. 

      The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' 

      'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.' " --Matt 13:24-30

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It's easy to read the parable of the weeds and Christ's subsequent explanation in verses 37-43 and come away with a feeling like, “Yeah! The bad people will get what's coming to them and pay for what they've done!” After all, the process Christ describes does seem rather...cut and dried. “The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (Matt 13:41-43) Well, it turns out that Leo Durocher was wrong—nice guys finish first!

But before we celebrate at home plate, let's ask ourselves a question: Who is the judge? The owner of the field told his servants not to pull the weeds out because it would uproot the wheat as well. Separation and judgment, he told his servants, would come at the end—by someone qualified to do it.

I know someone whose son was “helping” his parents weed the mulch beds a few years ago. The young man diligently pulled out all the pachysandra along with the weeds! Apparently he was either unfit to judge the worth of the plant or didn't understand the ground cover's value in keeping future weeds from growing there. Naturally, he felt terrible when he learned the truth.

Who among us is fit to judge whether someone is a weed or a stalk of wheat? When they're young, it's hard to tell just by looking at them, isn't it? And when they mature, who is to say that the weed can't be transformed in an instant? Look at the thief on the cross next to Jesus. He could have been plucked, tied, and burned many times but had grown alongside the good plants to physical maturity. Then, in an instant, he believed and became a stalk of wheat. This person upon whom everyone had given up was not forsaken by Jesus. All he had to do was believe

In our zeal to identify and terminate weeds, we sometimes condemn them ourselves. When a child is told he or she is stupid, they learn to believe it. When a person is repeatedly told they are ugly, they think of themselves that way too. Wheat and weeds will always share the same ground—it's been that way since the Fall and it will be that way until Christ returns. Be warned: Are you sure the weed you're about to pull isn't really pachysandra? Are you sure you didn't step on a few good plants in your haste to lay your hands on a weed? And are you sure that weed will never turn out to be a stalk of wheat?

When you judge, you risk damaging something or someone. When you judge, you tell Christ, “I figured I'd just go ahead and do your job for you if that's ok.” It's not worth it. The servants in the parable asked the master what they should do first and it's a good thing they did. Ask your master what you should do and don't be surprised if you get the same response!

 

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