When God says that the weeds should be allowed to grow along with the good wheat until the end of times, it seems a little odd. (Matthew 13)
Shouldn’t we protect the wheat from the weeds?
Shouldn’t we make room for the wheat to grow by getting the weeds out of the way?
‘Don’t judge the weeds!’
But God says they should be left to grow together, until God separates them, and throws the weeds to be burned.
God gives one good reason why: when you pull up the weeds, you might pull up the wheat, too (Matt. 13:29). It is not possible for any believer to be entirely separated from those who choose evil in this world. If the weeds were all pulled out today, how devastated might we be at the knowledge that loved ones who have made bad choices are entirely lost — that our hope for them is gone? Would we find ourselves “uprooted” by our loss?
‘You’re not smart enough to judge the weeds!’
As I look at my own little patio garden, I can see another reason, too. In this time of economic constraint, I’ve planted my garden from seed for the first time in many years. But my pots and potting soil are not new. So the soil is full of tree-blown and bird-dropped seeds, as well as the seeds I’ve planted.
It takes patience, of course, to begin to see any plants at all. More than that, it takes discernment to know which of the leaves that appear are from seeds I planted. After leaves started popping up I had to wait several weeks, until a maroon streak began to show along the center of some of the tiny round leaves, to know for sure which were coleus and which were chickweed. I’m still not certain which of the narrow leaves pushing up are basil, which are dahlias, and which are pin oak.
God knows, of course. But were God to leave the weeding to the likes of me at this time, the garden could be decimated. For the time being, I need to leave the weeds among the coleus.
What about discerning (and judging) ‘weed people’?
When we’re speaking about people, it takes much, much longer to recognize who will grow as wheat. A thief who makes the right choice while being executed (Luke 23: 40-43) might not show a great harvest that we can see, but spiritual harvests are remarkably difficult to measure.
Who knows but that he made his choice at that moment for such a one as you or me? If a man sentenced to death was not a weed at the moment of his execution, how would you and I ever be certain that we are rightly judging others as outside God’s Kingdom?
Have you been on the receiving end of Christian judgment? The giving end? Did it turn out well or not?