Wait It Out

When thinking about the evil invading our society, (e.g. story in the news about Virginia parents who confront Loudoun County school board over critical race theory, ‘pornographic’ books in school), I often find myself wondering what my role is in addressing evil.

On one hand the Apostle Paul suggests in Galatians 6 that “if someone is caught in sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.” I suppose the assumption is the person who is “caught in sin” is a follower of the Way so I should do something.

On the other hand, this morning I spent some time mediating on Jesus’ parable of the weeds in Matthew 13. 24 Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. 25 But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. 26 When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.

27 “The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’

28 “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed.

“‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked.

29 “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’”

So like the disciples, you and I might not be clear on how to interpret the parable. Thankfully, Jesus patiently explains the parable of the weeds to his disciples and to us. Here is how to understand the parable of the weeds. 36 Then, leaving the crowds outside, Jesus went into the house. His disciples said, “Please explain to us the story of the weeds in the field.”

37 Jesus replied, “The Son of Man is the farmer who plants the good seed. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. 39 The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world, and the harvesters are the angels.

40 “Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!

Am I understanding this correctly, there are times to engage someone who is caught in sin, and at other times we are to live patiently in the midst of, and with the consequences of, those who are spreading evil? Do you think the parents in Loudoun County should have confronted the school board, or should they just let them continue to do what evil people do?

Grace to you and peace,

Mike Altena


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