- He shared another parable with them saying: “The kingdom of Heaven is like a man sowing good seed in his field.
- While everyone else was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the grain and left.
- When the grain had grown and was bringing fruit, the tares also appeared.
- His slaves came to the master of the house and said to him: “Lord, did you not sow good seed into your field? Where then have these tares come from?”
- He said to them: “An enemy has done this” His slaves then asked him “Master, do you wish that we should go to gather them up?”
- He said: “No, in case you accidentally uproot the grain while you are gathering up the tares.
- Allow both to grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will say to the harvesters “Gather first the tares and tie them into bundles, to be thrown into the fire, then gather the grain into my barn.”
This parable concerns something that I personally find so frustrating – the idea of false Christians. So a man planted a genuine crop of wheat. However, while everyone was asleep, his enemy came and planted tares within the wheat. Now apparently tares are a weed that look very similar to wheat. So while the wheat was growing, up sprung (sprang?!) the tares as well. The man recognised that this had to be the work of the enemy. However, he instructs his workers that they should not pull up the tares in case they accidentally uproot the real wheat at the same time.
Later on in this passage, Jesus spells it out for us that the wheat represents genuine Christians, but the tares represent false Christians, actually sons of the devil, planted by the devil. So Jesus promises us that even amongst genuine Christians there will be some false ones, who have been planted by the devil. And frankly speaking, I see SO many tares. I maintain a LONG list of supposed tele-evangelists who claim to speak for Christ and His Gospel, but who never actually preach anything remotely related to the Bible. And then these people put others off from the true faith of Christ. Admittedly the true faith of Christ is not necessarily easy or immensely glamorous so the truth can itself be a little off-putting – but at least it is the truth.
Or these false teachers will come and preach false messages to divert, mislead or confuse true followers of Christ. This makes me so angry! My natural inclination would be to aggressively pull out the tares. However, Christ tells us that this is not His way. What does this mean in practice? To be honest, I am not 100% sure. Some Christians or pastors maintain blogs where they critique, sometimes damningly, other “Christian” leaders according to their doctrine. I have been so tempted to do this on this blog (in fact, I have done it before) – and I have not ruled out the possibility of doing it again, if I feel it compelling to do so – and I suspect I might very well find it compelling. However, does this count as pulling out the tares? You know what, prior to today I might have said “Yes”, but on reading the story more closely I’m thinking “No!” What is clear before we start is that as Christians we HAVE to maintain good and excellent doctrine. The supremacy of the Word of God cannot be allowed to be questioned, especially by the people who are supposed to be defending it. We have to give God His place of being number 1, and we have to elevate the Bible as the one reliable, unchanging fixed medium by which we can accurately assess who God is, and what He would have us do.
I don’t believe in cultivating a ministry to pull other ministers down, but I do feel that blatant corruptions of the Word of God have to be challenged and corrected. On reading this passage, it states that the reapers are the Angels – they are the ones asking whether they should uproot the tares. It is in my view, as if this passage is explaining why God allows these people to carry on spreading their lies against Him and His truth. So it is not as if Jesus is using this passage to tell us why we should not uproot the tares, but rather He is explaining why God does not do it. However, I guess if the angels have to be careful about accidentally uprooting true sons of God, we also have to be careful when challenging false ministries, so that people who are genuinely of faith, but perhaps not as rooted as we are, do not get uprooted from their faith through our actions.
If you are not a Christian, but you are considering whether the faith of Christ might be the truth – it definitely is! But please do not look at anyone who claims to speak for God. They might be tares, or they might be experiencing moments of weakness, or they might be simply human.
Rather look to the Bible, and look to God Himself. He is ready to answer you at any time of the day or night (trust me, I’ve tried!) and He can be totally trusted, and He NEVER turns anyone away! God bless 😉
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