“‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them.’”
Are Christians charged by God to be militant crusaders who defend the faith by stomping out evil wherever they find it? Jesus answers that question with this parable.
In Jesus’ day a political group called the Zealots demanded that all Roman soldiers be eliminated. Another group, the Pharisees, were extreme legalists and rejected many who were not like them. They despised lawbreakers and were convinced that the Messiah would not tolerate them. Even Jesus’ disciples once suggested that they call down fire from heaven on a group of unreceptive Samaritans (see Luke 9:54). To all of these notions Jesus declares a resounding “NO!”
The world is like a theater with two movies playing at the same time. Good and evil get all mixed up together. The righteous are tempted to purge the world of all evil and to eradicate every organization or voice that contradicts God’s truth. But Jesus warns that in the process some good plants can be destroyed. In addition, whenever we try to wipe out evil, we end up becoming self-righteous and cruel. We must leave it to God to judge and purge.
Even so, we should not become confused and begin calling a weed a flower. A weed is a weed. The right option is to magnify the attractive love of Jesus. If we turn on the light of Christ’s love, darkness will scatter. So let’s live by God’s mercy and proclaim his truth, letting God be the judge.
Lord Jesus, equip us with your love so that your garden may thrive in the world. Amen.
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