Last year there was an evil one walking in my garden. It would tear my plants apart, It’s long teeth consuming everything I tried to grow. Worse still, I would occasionally get glimpses of it and it would stare me straight in the eye as if challenging me to try to stop him.
“What’s up, doc?” I envisioned it saying as it casually decimated my lettuce.
During the growing season I believe the bunny ate more of my garden than I did, leaving me only the occasional tidbit
I wrestled with the problem of the rabbit. Living in the city, I couldn’t pull out my rifle and shoot it. Trapping it and releasing it would only make room for another rabbit to take over. It seemed my only recourse would be to fence my garden, but, alas, I nether had fence nor the time to put fencing up.
It reminded me of the parable of the weeds in Matthew 13:24-30 & 36-43. But instead of weeds being planted among the grain it was a rabbit in the middle of my veggies.
“The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil…” explained Jesus.
And it was easy for me to envision this rabbit as a long-eared, bushy tailed demon. I was the good gardener who tried to bring good into the world and this bunny, well, he was simply a menace.
Jesus went on to say the evildoers would be cast into the fire but the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom.
But picturing my devil rabbit eventually getting what it deserved gave me little comfort. I really yearned for something more immediate, like a wandering hunter with his trusty double-barrel to cross his path.
It’s easy to slip into that frame of mind, whether it be satan-bunny vs. gardener, Christian vs. non-Christian or so may other us vs. them situations.
Maybe more to the point is recognizing I’m not anywhere near as good or righteous as I should be either.
Life certainly would be simple if there was only good or only evil, but life is rarely like that. That’s not to say there’s a shortage of people who believe themselves to be the good farmer, denouncing this rabbit and that rabbit for all the wrongdoing they’ve done.
Just as righteous as I felt in my crusade against the rabbit, we’re really good at getting on our soap box and pointing fingers, insistent that we’re on the right side.
Matthew rightfully points out that only God can judge this situation, to separate the weeds from the grain, the rabbit from gardener.
I could leave the passage at that.
But I can’t.
I think most people are a mix of the weed and the grain. Life isn’t a black-and-white place filled with people punished for their sin and others who will be forgiven. Is there some sort of tipping point for our souls? Do we eventually commit enough sins that we turn more evil than good? Is everything ok until we eat the big carrot?
God is generous in his mercy, but I can’t help but to wonder sometimes about the punishment that may await us for the weedy portion of ourselves. Like the weeds in the parable, we can’t remove that part from ourselves.
So this year I’ve put up the fence and try to keep the weeds from my garden. It’s been fruitful and I’m finally getting to eat what I’ve planted, but I keep the eye out for the rabbit. He’s still out there waiting for the breach in the fence.
And that’s what I’m left contemplating: the sin and goodness in us all; the gardener and the rabbit; the weed and the grain.