In our response to troubling people, we often want to uproot them. If we can just kick them out, we will have a pure group. The workers in the story respond by asking the farmer if they should pull out all the weeds. There are often other people who have opinions about how you should deal with the person who is trying to harm you.
This farmer teaches us a new perspective on the presence of evil in the world. He knew that their knee-jerk reaction to problem solving would lead to greater problems.
Despite the workers' willingness to try, it would be difficult for them to root out the many tares at this stage. The weeds had grown enough that their roots were already intertwined with those of the wheat but not far enough that it would be easy to distinguish them from the wheat; uprooting thus might endanger the wheat.[i]
Jesus story certainly gives us a way to look at people problems. When we act quickly to uproot troublemakers, we may end up hurting others in the process. Knee-jerk reactions to evildoers usually do several things:
1. The enemy gets the reaction they were looking for from you
2. The victim(s) justify their anger, resentment and defensiveness instead of examining their part in the conflict
3. The angry and hurt response leaves no room for sober thinking on the matter
4. Other people get uprooted when you respond ‘eye for eye and tooth for tooth’. There is always collateral damage when you act hastily and recklessly
5. Retaliation causes an escalation of evil intent
6. The victim(s) fail to involve appropriate authorities to mediate and determine a just response
7. We reduce the opportunities for reconciliation and ‘win-win’ outcomes
8. We focus on the person’s bad behavior and attitude rather than the evil puppeteer who pulls their strings. The Devil is at work in the world to destroy the work of God and uses people to do it
Jesus’ story amplifies the truth that God is the final Judge. If we are to live in God’s Kingdom we will learn to co-exist with evildoers and allow God to bring every matter to its final conclusion. This does not come natural to us. We are like Peter who grabbed the sword and cut off a man’s ear when the posse came to take Jesus away. The Lord uses the terrible circumstance to heal the man’s ear and leave the final outcome of His own life to God’s judgment.
Kingdom people are called to join God in reconciling the world back to God. We go extra miles for people. We return good when evil is given so they have the opportunity to change their heart.