Matthew 13:29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them.'”
It’s very difficult to pull out one verse from this parable, because all seven verses are very much part of it. However, the point of the parable is very clear: bad people are going to get into the Church, but they will be dealt with in the end. This has been evident throughout the past 2000 years, and it’s certainly in operation today. It’s much easier to look back over Church history and point out examples of “weeds,” but it’s much more risky to do so today. Some seem glaringly obvious, as they promote teaching and practices that are clearly in opposition to Scripture. However, other “weeds” are legalistic, and seem from some angles to be righteous. The problem comes in what we are to do about them. No group is immune, so we need to be active in our own sensitivity and obedience to the Holy Spirit, not running around accusing, but making it clear by example what genuine “wheat” looks like, so others aren’t as likely to be deceived. I frankly don’t like to imagine what is going to happen to the “weeds” in the end, but that isn’t our responsibility. Those who do genuinely love God are to keep speaking the truth in love, remembering that God’s love forgives but doesn’t excuse, and sometimes is very firm. We tend to confuse love and “warm fuzzies,” thinking that admonition and correction aren’t loving, when quite the opposite is the case. We are to be clear-eyed and vigilant, and at the same time accepting of repentance and encouraging. Otherwise we run the risk of becoming “weedy” ourselves!
I have known a few “weeds” myself, and in my view, there are some that are glaringly obvious on the world stage today. However, I’ve got to remember that in Jesus’ parable the concern wasn’t with the weeds so much as with the genuine “wheat.” I am to be an instrument of restoration and healing for those who have been damaged by the “weeds,” pointing them to Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to do His full work as the Comforter. It has been quite a shock to find out some people were weeds years after I had interaction with them. I am to remember that prayer is the only safe “herbicide,” dealing with the weeds without damaging the wheat. I’m not to be a “weed inspector,” but rather focus on my Lord, hearing and obeying Him faithfully.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the people You have brought into this church, and those You have removed. Those who have left have certainly not all been weeds! I ask Your blessings on them as they serve You, across this nation and around the world. May I keep planting good seed, preparing soil and watering, so that Your harvest may come in Your time for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!