Matthew 13:24-26, 36b-40 - He (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 among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. ... 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.
"I want to fix it now!" Have you ever said something like that? In Jesus' story about the wheat and the weeds, you can just hear His workers saying this: "Oh, no! Look at all the weeds! Let's go pull them up right now. Then they won't cause any more trouble."
That's really similar to what a lot of us think in our hearts when we see bad behavior in the church or in the world. We say to ourselves, "That man is an evildoer! That woman is doing terrible harm! Lord, why don't You just judge them now? I would be happy to help You, if You like."
But in the story, the farmer says not to do it. He says, "If you try to pull out the weeds, you will uproot the wheat as well." The weeds and the wheat are growing too close together. Their roots are interlaced. Yank one up, and you will probably yank up the other.
Similarly, Jesus says to us that we should not rush to carry out judgment. Sure, we may have identified an evildoer (although even that is not completely sure, because only the Lord really knows the heart). However, we may not pass final judgment and declare someone damned to hell. We may not treat them like hopeless cases, people who can never repent and be forgiven. Why?
Because even if we are right about them, their lives are interlaced with the lives of God's children. They have families, neighbors, and co-workers dependent on them. What happens to them will have an effect on the people around them, whether we like it or not. By rushing to judgment, we could do serious harm to the faith of little ones, people for whom Jesus died and rose—people who cannot protect themselves against our good intentions.
So what can we do? Well, we can pray. That won't do any harm. Who knows? They might even repent and be forgiven! And of course, it is right for us to rebuke the sin, and to try to stop further evil actions, and to try to bring the person to repentance. And if we are judges or elders or other people who have the responsibility for carrying out justice, we should do the job God has called us to do. But final judgment is reserved to God on the last day. We can be sure that God's judgment will be correct and will do no harm to others.
THE PRAYER: Lord, give me wisdom when I am handling difficult situations where innocent people might be harmed. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Have you ever looked closely at a plant's roots? What are they like?
2. Where in the world do you see good and evil growing close together? How does this cause difficulty?
3. How do you prevent your righteous anger from running away with you?
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