Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
“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?’
” ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
” ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30Let 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.’ “
Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
“As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
-Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
In the parable above, the wheat is growing up with the weeds. The owner tells the servant not to pull the weeds up because they may root up the wheat with them. When we exclude these people with overt, outward sins from the church we risk rooting up good wheat because of the weeds growing up with them. We all have our weeds. Some are just more outward and obvious than others. How horrible would it be to root up and destroy someone who may end up becoming a powerful force for Christ in the world just because they were homosexual, a teenage mother, divorced, or have any number of other outward sins?
There was an unmarried couple who were living together attending the church of a friend of mine. The pastor struggled throughout the premarital counseling process with wanting to approach the couple about their living situation, but felt God saying that he shouldn’t. It turns out that the man in the relationship had decided that if the pastor said anything about them living together he was done with the church. About two weeks before the wedding the couple felt convicted about their living/sexual situation and they chose to live separately until the wedding. Now they are both very committed Christians and very involved in that church. If the pastor would have confronted them they would have either never gone to church again or not gone for a long time (never underestimate God’s ability to find people!).
Excluding these people from the church betrays a real lack of faith and trust in God. It’s a way to retain control while acting pious and “holy.” We need to repent of trying to retain that control instead of giving all of ourselves to God.
The above was written by my husband, who follows my blog but rarely comments. He told me I could post it here or he may post it on his own blog. I thought that my readers my find it illuminating. Because the point isn’t saying that sin ceases to be sin- the point is saying that if something truly is sin for someone, God will convict them. God will do so in his own way in his own time, and we need to trust God for that.
Believe in the Lord of the Harvest.