"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wheat or Tare—Letting God Be the Judge

By Micky Wolf
It’s been said a weed is a plant growing in a place we’d rather it didn’t. Consider the much maligned dandelion. Bearing bright yellow blooms, many appreciate and savor it’s foliage as a delicious addition to a meal, especially when sautéed in oil with bits of bacon and onion. Too bad. Many a weekend warrior will spend considerable time and money trying to eradicate each and every stalk.

And then there’s the plant-within-a-plant, as my beloved and I recently discovered. (Above photo) The friendly neighbor who shared a couple of clumps from his flourishing ornamental grasses was likely unaware of the tiny, colorful lily that would emerge weeks later.

Further complicating the situation is that both plants offer beauty to most any landscape or garden. There’s little doubt their roots are intertwined, so, what’s the best way to provide for each, without destroying one or the other in the process?

We are faced with a decision and limited options. If we leave them as is, one will likely take over the other. If we choose to uproot the lily, it may not survive the transplant, and the young grass may wither and die as well.

From a Christian perspective, there are plenty of metaphors to justify the blessings and grace that abound in sacrificing the innocent for the good of the greater whole. But that’s hard to do. From a human standpoint, most of us would not be very willing to give-up a loved one or self for martyrdom, notwithstanding all the graces God promises to provide to endure through such an experience.

On the other hand, how much easier would this decision be if the lily was a dandelion? Or a thistle? Would we grab our little spade and dig away, tossing those aside because they were so obviously weeds? Or, in the parlance of Scripture, the tares?

Which brings us to an uncomfortable insight: appearance along is insufficient to serve as a guide for deciding what is good or of value, and what is bad, or of little or no value. Just because we come across a person (or a thing)—determined to fit them or it into boxes we have created for such a purpose—may be clear indication we are sliding down a slippery slope of judgment. One that is too often littered with personal biases and prejudices.

All the more reason then, that in our human encounters and relationships, we need to leave the business of pulling up, transplanting, or casting into fire, to the God of all Creation. To He who knows best, the life and roots within each of our hearts. Wheat and tare alike.

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