Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43
Do you know what the definition of a weed is? It’s any plant that you don’t like in your garden or yard. My wife is a gardener, and there are plants that seemingly sprout up from nowhere to get her blood boiling.
Jesus told a parable about weeds, and this story has the honor of changing the course of a colony before our nation was founded, and it ended up influencing the course of this entire country.
How could this be? If you’ve been raised in Baptist circles as I have, and have taken a course in Baptist history, then here’s a name you would recognize: Roger Williams. He was a minister who tried to live and work among the Puritans in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Puritans had left England because they were being persecuted, but they didn’t seem to get the lesson. This is the sad irony: Christians who'd been persecuted for their beliefs turned right around and persecuted others for their beliefs.
Along came Roger Williams, and he never quite got along with the Puritans, and one of the bones of contention was the concept of religious liberty. He believed and taught that the state has no business dictating to people what they should or shouldn't believe when it came to religion. He believed that each one of us will be held accountable to God for our faith and practice, and no one else, especially not the government, has the right to interfere in that. He was eventually cast out of Massachusetts, and went and founded the colony of Rhode Island, the first such colony (or any governing body) which legally practiced complete religious freedom. There were no laws telling you which church to attend (if any) or any beliefs which you had to hold. It was his idea which eventually flowered into the religious liberty which we hold so dear today.
And to what Scripture did he point to argue for this insane new concept? The passage you just read. Removing disbelievers from the world (which is the field) is the Lord's job, not ours. When we try to do God’s job for him, when we try to root out the weeds ourselves, we end up tearing out the “wheat” as well.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that we don’t need to oppose evil and wrong beliefs. It just means that the weapons which we use are spiritual, not of this world. The world tries to solve its problems with bullets or ballots. Our weapons are infinitely more powerful: prayer, the truth of God’s word, Christian love and unity. If we try to fight this battle on the Enemy’s terms, we’ll lose every time.
Lord Jesus, when I look at the political situation around me, I get so frustrated. But that only means that I’m looking at things with my eyes instead of yours. Please help me to trust you, to do things your way instead of mine.