Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43
A parable should make the audience stop and wonder because in real life no one would do such a thing. Today we have the parable of the wheat and the tires, sown almost at the same time and growing up together side by side. If you’ve ever grown a garden you know the difference between a weed and a plant when they first peak out of the ground. Usually you would take these out before they grew to full grain. So what hits us first is why would the owner of the field allow the wheat and tares grow together so that it is impossible to weed them out without pulling up both plants.
I have contemplated this question all week because not only is Jesus telling us that we are the wheat and right alongside us growing are the tares. By this parable we are supposed to not judge others, to allow their own flourishing right alongside our own. Good and evil in the same fields. I’ve even struggled real hard with how to explain this because every example I pick seems to lead to my judging someone else. This makes understanding this piece about the kingdom of heaven even more challenging.
These have been some of my thoughts this week. It seems like a really good thing on the one hand to grow in the same field to leave the judging of the good crop up to God. If we get caught up in identifying who is good and who is bad then sometimes we end up mislabeling someone. I think of the young people Kaze worked with who now work with each other. They have lived with what strong labeling can do, they are bad because they are lazy, because they don’t do anything, because they may have lived on the street and yet they have come to have a wonderful faith that is shared with others who life has given up on.
There is a book I just finished reading this week by Anthony Marra called A Constellation of Vital Phenomena about the wars in Chechnya. Throughout this book you can see the Russians as the evil ones, then it changes to all the men who fight in any war, then you realize the kernel of goodness in the Muslim character Akmed and the Russian doctor Sonja. You the reader find their lives are so entwined that what we judge as good or evil is all entwined within their story. You can’t judge who is really evil it is all just as it is.
Maybe this is all we can get from the questions we have of good and evil. Maybe we just need to content ourselves with just looking at our own growth and what we are doing. Maybe just trying to be wheat is all we can hope for in the kingdom. God’s kingdom.