LET IT BE
Lord, thank You for Your invisible and hidden work in my life.
Read Matthew 13:24–30
24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectDo you err on the side of judgment or grace?
Some years ago I chanced upon the minutes of a church meeting from the early 1800s. My interest was aroused by a disciplinary matter involving a young, unmarried, female member who was pregnant. After citing several Bible passages and commenting on the incident, the minister asked the members to exclude her from the membership roll, which they duly did. The basis for this decision was the need to uphold purity in their midst and the need to maintain a distinction between the church and the world. It was only one story, but a situation not unfamiliar to churches of all kinds across the centuries. And whatever texts are used to argue for this conclusion, today’s reading is not one of them.
This story suggests that the Gospel message produces different responses in the same community: healthy discipleship in some and negative attributes in others. Some scholars believe that Jesus is drawing a distinction here between his true followers and religious hypocrites who play at religion. The punch line, however, is surprising. God alone knows the identity of his followers and it is he who judges their destiny at harvest time, when as the Apostles’ Creed puts it, he will judge the quick [living] and the dead.
Is there a particular sin that you view as “worse” than others? How do you treat those who fall into this sin? Can you offer grace or maybe a helping hand of loving accountability?
Lord, forgive me for the times I have written people off for their actions. Have mercy on me and give me grace to love them.
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