The servants in the parable asked, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ (vs. 28b) They were ready to suit up for battle!
I can respond to evil in one of four ways. I can be a …
- Separatist – in Jesus day the Essenes
In the middle ages it was the monastic movement to start monasteries or nunneries to separate from society. You may have heard of this term because it described a movement in European Christianity and continues to this day. We see this in movies like “Sound of Music” or “Sister Act.” The Christian school movement, the home school movement, Christian colleges, in many ways is Christians wanting to pull away from society. Separating themselves from the evil influences of the public school, from the evil influences of those evil school kids. The only problem is that this is exactly OPPOSITE of what Jesus says we are to be. “We are salt (Matt 5:13) we are light (Matt. 5: 14) we are a city on a hill. (Matt. 5:14) ” They are putting our head in the sand like Ostriches is how I think of it. “See no evil hear no evil.” We have given up and decided we have no power, no influence. When Jesus says we do.
- Puritan – in Jesus’ day the Pharisees
Trying to maintain a religious purity no matter the cost. You have heard of this term because it was another middle age and European Church movement that many still try to emulate today. In Salem the Puritans burned suspected witches — to maintain a pure society. In the Spanish Inquisition people who disagreed with the official teaching of the church were tortured. Husbands have beaten their wives to teach them submission – so they could have model godly families. Others have embraced such strong religious views that they cut off all ties with their children because they disagree with some of their lifestyle decisions. We knew a family that their daughter didn’t marry a catholic so they disowned her and wouldn’t talk to her or their grandchildren for over ten years. They got a divorce and they welcomed them back with open arms. A friend of mine from college her dad, split a church over what translation of the Bible was the best and began a new church. When she got married she married someone who didn’t share his views and the dad didn’t go to the wedding and now ten years later has not spoken to them. Is this kind of behavior the answer? NO!
Every time we try to use worldly influence, religion or power or scheming to get God’s work done we end up doing more damage to his kingdom.
- Militant – in Jesus’ day the Zealots
When the puritan methods aren’t working fast enough some Christians become militant. We see the same thing in some contemporary political movements. “Once we organize and get rid of the hated godless pornographic homosexual media-driven infestation which is menacing our nation we’ll become the nation of God once again.” Really?
And once people begin to think this way it’s not too much of a leap before they’ll take up arms against abortionists or homosexuals or whoever the current sinner happens to be. But hear Jesus, we’re stuck with weeds until harvest time.
We’ve got to be realists! We are not going to eliminate evil from the world and we ought not to act as though that were the case.
Every group or individual that takes on themselves the mission of bringing in the kingdom of God in political or strong-armed or religious or rule infested ways ends up really warped with an inflated view of self-importance. Ironically, they begin acting in ways that are completely contrary to the kingdom of God.
Which am I?
By the way these are also models of churches today. Most churches in America today are a puritan model, they try to gather a pure church according to their definition of that with followers who follow their prescribed tenants. We are realists. Let me share with you our realist model. We allow people to be in process. There are wheat and weeds together. Together we grow, we are not perfect we allow people to be who they are but we also provide opportunities for the wheat to grow.
The Ridge Fellowship is a group of Realists.
Those who want to grow, take advantage of the opportunities. Those who want to be held accountable are held accountable by their decision only. They decide to become a member, they decide to serve, they decide to lead. We don’t hold those accountable who do not wish to. Our mission is to KNOW Christ (its a choice each person must make on thier own) and GROW to Be Like HIM (also a day by day minute by minute choice.)
Evil will not stop my spiritual growth
Let both grow together until the harvest. (vs. 30a)
As a believer, I am the good seed. My responsibility is growth and reproduction.
“The wheat sprouted and formed heads” (vs. 26)
As wheat is profitable for bread, food, and seed, it has purpose. God’s children have purpose and are useful for God. Is your life bearing fruit? What are you doing in God’s field? Are you spending your energy growing and reaching others? Or are on some witch hunt or some gossip campaign or puritan endeavor or inquisition? Try growing in Christ and reaching others. It works!
There have been wonderful examples of those who have been changed when we thought they had no hope: Alice Cooper, Korn guitarist, Brian Head Welch, Stephen Baldwin.
But the question asked by many is, “What happens to these evil people when they become good?” The same thing that happens to you and me. They are forgiven and become new creation.
- My greatest weapon against evil is transformation.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17
God is in the business of transforming lives! He changes us and recreates us. He takes the evil and makes it good, the wrong and makes it righteous.
God can take this Johnson grass plant (a nasty weed) and transform it into a corn plant that is useful and provides food. It’s not magic it’s a miracle! It’s a spiritual truth! God is in the life changing business. He has called us to do the same. We are to take every ounce of our energy and reach others with this truth. Look at this.
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:17-19
He has given us the ministry of reconciliation (bringing people to Christ) not the ministry of grumbling, Ministry of complaining, or ministry of judging, the ministry of do nothing.
If you have never become a Christ follower, today is the day Christ can plant a seed in your heart, it will begin to grow and will transform your life. If you are a believer let me ask you: are you growing? Are you seeing a change? And lastly, whose life can you plant the seed of the gospel? Which co-worker, family member can you give a bible to, invite to church or pray for? This is how we best respond best to evil: cooperating with the transformation power of Christ.