“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 uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest.’” (Matthew 13:28-30)
In His parable of the wheat and the weeds, Jesus makes it clear that the intermixing of good and evil is a present reality in the world. In some ways, we do not need Jesus to tell us this because we experience it all the time. We experience the beauty of a sunset made more vibrant and striking because of smoke whirling through the air from forest fires. We cry tears of grief over the death of a friend or family member because we experienced so much love toward and from them.
This is true not just generally, however, but personally and relationally. Jesus says the wheat is people of the kingdom and the weeds are people influenced by evil. There is a tension that arises when kingdom people and evil people are mixed together. We feel it in our workplaces, schools, families, and friendships.
Many times, when we feel this tension as people of the kingdom we speak about it in terms of the pressure we feel to live and speak for God when others oppose us. We may sometimes even take on a “woe is me” attitude because we exist within the tensions of good and evil at play in our world.
Some Christians may even say, “Lord, when will You deal with this evil? Couldn’t You just clear all the world of evil influence and people?! Then we could live fully and peacefully with You in this world.” But this is not how it works.
This is not how it works by God’s wise and loving design. Not only do we as people of the kingdom experience tension in ourselves, we are also bringers of tension in the world around us. Hopefully this is not because we are pig-headed and difficult followers of Jesus, but because we are bringing kingdom-oriented tension into the lives of those who do not know or are resisting God.
Part of our mission as people of the kingdom is to bring necessary tension to a world at odds with God. Our very presence as people trying to walk with Jesus, witness to Jesus, and speak about Jesus is a calling to bring the missional tension of the kingdom to people and places that otherwise would have no influence for Christ there.
So we may need to reframe our feelings of tension. We may need to move away from “woe is me” toward “called is me” as we humbly and graciously live and speak for God in the field of the world where wheat and weeds grow together. Until the final harvest arrives, may we bring kingdom tension as witnesses for our living God.