This week’s text in Matthew is the glorious parable of the wheat and the weeds. I always took this as a story as one of judgment and God’s wrath. The verse that always stood out to me was “Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.” JUDGMENT IS COMING!!! At least that is what my eyes and minds always drifted too. But something else has popped out at me this time.
After reading a couple commentaries, a theme of good and evil started to emerge. Maybe the judgment in this parable is not the focus but the fact that as Christians, or wheat, we are called to live among the weeds. We are called to be in the world but not of the world. The wheat and the weeds are to grow side by side and only God can know the difference between the two.
This got me thinking about the evil that is around us all the time. There is no better illustration than the fact that my wife use to share a horse with Jeffery Dahmer’s step-mother. (I have made all the jokes possible with that statement over the years don’t worry!) If you are up-to-date with your serial killers, Dahmer grew up in Bath, Ohio and went to Revere High School (the same high school my brother-in-law attended). My wife and her mother lived in a house six blocks away from the Dahmer house (where they found bones of at least one body, his first kill). As she grew up her mom and Dahmer’s step-mother became friends and they decided that they would share the ownership of a horse together.
Jeffery Dahmer was charged with killing 17 men and boys. His killings were unusually gruesome. Dahmer was charged also with rape, necrophilia, and cannibalism. Many people when they think of evil, conger up images of Jeffery Dahmer. Yet the woman I fell in love with and her family are connected, although loosely, to his family. We are wheat living next to a massive weed.
What does this tell us about God? Why does God allow such evil to exist in the world? Why does God let such awful things happen to innocent people? Why does God allow events like 9-11 happen, the holocaust, and the genocide in Rwanda and now Darfur?
As N. T. Wright states, “If we ask God to act on special occasions, do we really suppose that he could do that simply when we want him to, and then back off again for the rest of the time?” (Matthew for Everyone – Part One, p. 169) If God would stop evil when we wanted him to, then what is stopping him from taking me out? What stops him from passing judgment on me when I lie, speed, or covet? In God’s eye who is the wheat and who is the weeds? I guess we should be thankful that when God sees us, God knows the difference and that our views are not God’s view. I am connected, by only three people, to a horrible serial killer. This get me thinking, in the eyes of God I, due to my own sins, may be the same, a weed.