Are you tired of reading social media posts of “friends” that you are connected to who spend a great deal of time showing why they are right and their opposition is wrong? I am. Lately, as soon as I see what the post is, it just skip it and move on. There are more important things to do, and frankly, I have enough stress in my life, I don’t need to add reading these kind of posts.
Tired of reading partisan political rants and posts about how (insert party or politician here) is just terrible, wrong, and yes, on the cusp of evil for the things that they supposedly say, do, or the policies they support? Instead, (insert a more preferred party or politician) is so much better! They have common sense of course with their common sense solutions. They aren’t making (pick a group that can used for political gain) choose between (pick something that people need and/or makes their life better) and (pick something else). I am tired of this. How do you all read all of these posts? Again, when I see that someone is posting something that becomes nothing more than an unsolicited ad for a political party or politician, it’s time for me to move on.
It’s the same stinking message, just change the players and the names.
It shows up in relationships where someone doesn’t like the fact that their (daughter, son, friend, coworker, etc) is (dating/seeing someone with a different skin color, speaks a different language, has a different religious faith, comes from a different country, is gay/lesbian/trans/bi/etc, etc., etc.) It’s the same story, just the players in the story are different. But the same arguments show up.
I’m right and you are wrong and you better conform your life to my way of living, being, doing, thinking, and believing – or else damn it! Why don’t you see how clearly right I am?!?
Never mind that people’s lives are vastly different, that their histories are different, and there are innumerable other differences. Clearly, I’m right and that’s all that matters.
Tired of this? So am I.
So what to do about it?
Well, you could try to correct all the people who do this. You’ll be exhausted and create tons of enemies. You’ll get called names and threatened and all sorts of other fun things. And you won’t change a single mind or heart – just like the folks who are doing this. But hey, you’ll be right and they will be wrong.
Why on earth would you adopt the strategy of the people who supposedly upset you? Why? Yet, this seems to be the answer for so many people – do the exact same thing that you don’t like done to you. That makes literally no sense what so ever. Yet so many people do this. Why?????
Want another option? Try reading the parable of the wheat and the weeds from Matthew 13. It was the Gospel reading from this past Sunday.
The Parable of Weeds among the Wheat
He put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, “Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?” He answered, “An enemy has done this.” The slaves said to him, “Then do you want us to go and gather them?” But he replied, “No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”
In this parable, Jesus talks about the wheat and weeds and how they grow together. The sower of the seeds doesn’t tell the wheat to go and try to change the weeds to become wheat. He doesn’t go and scold the wheat for not changing the weeds.
Jesus doesn’t call on us to change the weeds that surround us to become wheat. Instead, we are called to be wheat – live like the wheat among the weeds. Not to judge the weeds, or hack down the weeds, or condemn the weeds, or sow something terrible among the weeds because that’s what happened to the wheat.
Instead the wheat and weeds are allowed to grow together. The wheat grows with the weeds. This is our life. To be with those who are like weeds. But to be wheat. To be wheat among the weeds is to live your life differently – to be in the world, but not of the world. To love those around us – even the weeds. To care for people – even the weeds. To show that our lives are different because Jesus has entered our life.
If Jesus has entered our life, then it’s got to be changed. We don’t act like weeds or the sower of weeds if Jesus is a part of our life. Instead, our lives are changed and the methods of the sower of the weeds make no more sense and we don’t do them.
We are either wheat or weeds. Wheat acts like wheat. Weeds act like weeds.