News coverage continues to swirl around the evil racist attacks in Charlottesville, VA on Saturday. Many have been vocal on social media, calling for change and exile of racists from our society. While this is indeed a good cause to advocate, we must be careful with the methods we employ to effect it. This battle is of hearts and minds, not blood and fists. As any military service member will tell you, meeting evil with violence is an option of absolute last resort, and in some cases, even then does more harm than good. Consider the Parable of the Weeds in Matthew 13 in which Jesus illustrates what the Kingdom of Heaven looks like. Jesus describes a farmer who sows wheat seed in his field, but that field is then plagued by weeds sown by the enemy. When asked by his farmhands whether they should root out the weeds, the farmer instructs them to leave the weeds until harvest time; at that time, the weeds will be pulled out by the farmer and burned, leaving the good wheat behind. Like all His parables, there is much to unpack, and this week Elevated Discourse will seek to do so. One of the reasons the farmer in this parable does not want to immediately root out the weeds is that the roots of the weeds and wheat can be tangled, and when trying to eradicate weeds from the field, one can accidentally pull up wheat plants as well. So what does this mean for us, today, facing the scourge of racism in our nation?
God reserved vengeance for himself, because, frankly, we are not very good at it. Jesus did not commission us to be his soldiers whose purpose is to eradicate the agents of the enemy wherever they appear. At harvest time, just like the weeds, they will be set aside and burned. So, are we to do nothing? Absolutely not. Our great commission from Jesus is to “go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” [Matthew 28:19-20]. Our role in the Kingdom of Heaven is to evangelize, to teach, to multiply the disciples of Jesus. The key to reaching anyone is to speak directly into their lives, not as one mob addressing another. Therefore, organizing into mobs to counter-attack evil is not what Jesus wants us to do. There is a better way, and Jesus has provided it for us. Pray today for the courage and strength to speak the word of Jesus into all you touch today and be a beacon of light in the world. Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts and actions so that you may affect the thoughts and actions of others in Jesus name.
"[Jesus] put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds[c]among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”
Then [Jesus] left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.” -- Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43 ESV