(…continued) God faces this same problem with all of us, all the time. That is a part of what is going on in Jesus’ parable in Matthew 13 (verses 24-30…36-43):
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 uproot 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.’”
…Then Jesus left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 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 blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
A man sowed good seed in his field. But when everyone was sleeping, an enemy came a sowed weeds among the wheat, and the wheat and the weeds grew up together. “Now what?” asked the man servants; “Should we go out and pull up all those weeds?” But of course that wouldn’t work. You might be able to pull out the weeds between rows of corn, but wheat is planted too close together, and the roots of the weeds are too intertwined with the roots of your wheat; so every time you pull up a weed, you are bound to lose some wheat. You’ll end up with no weeds, but no crop either. “Leave it alone,” said the farmer, “don’t interfere with the growth. We’ll sort it out at the harvest.”
That’s just how it is in this world and this life, Jesus told his disciples when he explained this parable to them. The devil has made a mess of things here, and so have we, by listening to the devil instead of to God. And one day, at the end of the age, God will get rid of all the evil. But in the meantime, God is just going to let a lot of it go. And we can be glad He does.
We might wish God would just eliminate all the evil in the world. I even have a few suggestions as to where he could begin that process. God could start by getting rid of Dennis Rodman’s good friend, Kim Jung-Un in North Korea; and from there God could go on to eliminate the ISIS organization and everyone in it; and then he could rid the earth of those gang members in New York who recently lured four teenagers to a remote area of a park and then hacked them to death with machetes. I have several other good ideas on where God could start eliminating wicked people.
But where would God stop if He was going to eliminate ALL the evil? If God started pulling up all the weeds, am I so pure and sinless that I can be certain He would stop before he got to me? Would it be a perfect, problem-free world with no evil whatsoever if everyone was as wonderful as me? Or you?
After enduring eight years of evil in a Russian prison camp in Siberia, Alexander Solzhenitsyn said what he learned was that the line between good and evil does not run between different people, but right down the middle of every human heart. We should give thanks to God that he is letting the weeds and wheat grow together, because there is some of each in our own heart. (continued…)
Merciful God, I confess to you my sins.
I confess the sins that no one knows about, and the sins that everyone knows about.
I confess the sins that are a burden to me, and the sins that do not bother me because I have grown used to them.
I confess to you all my sins.
Father, forgive me, through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.