Summary: Evil and good live side by side, so we need to accept our sinfulness in order to receive our salvation. God in Christ takes on Himself the penalty we should receive.
It would seem that the negative things in life grow of their own accord, but that the good things, positive things, take a lot of work. If you are at all a pessimist, you will agree that bad things, destructive things, just happen. Nobody has to make them happen. They happen on their own. But good things, constructive, positive things ... well, they take work.
Take dirt, for example. Dirt just happens. Every housekeeper knows this. Dirt just gets there, on its own. Nobody tries to grow dust bunnies under the bed; they just happen. Nobody puts a dense film across glass windows; it just accumulates until in order to see whether it’s raining outside you have to rub a little hole in the haze. How did it get there? It just happened, that’s how.
The negative things in life grow of their own accord, but the positive things take work.
Take knowledge, for another example. Knowledge, I suppose we all agree, is a good thing. But it takes a great deal of study to accumulate knowledge. Ignorance you can pick up on a moment’s notice, in the twinkling of an eye. Ignorance just happens. I think I have a pretty good education. I believe that the schools I attended did a good job with me. But I am amazed at how much I have forgotten! I looked at my bookshelves the other day and saw some of those old textbooks. Did I ever really know anything about solid geometry, trigonometry, differential equations? Did I actually study something called metallurgy? Did I ever really grasp Hebrew grammar? Why, I wouldn’t know a Hebrew grammar today if it grasped me, or, for that matter, a Hebrew gramper!
Ignorance just grows. Every day I forget what I used to know, and even forget that I used to know it! Education takes work. Ignorance is easy. The negative things in life grow of their own accord; the positive things take work.
Jesus certainly knew that. He spoke of weeds and wheat growing together, aware that the weeds grew without any help from anybody, but that the wheat needed to be nurtured and cared for. In the parable of the weeds and the wheat, there are a couple of basic ideas about what is happening and can happen within us when both weeds and wheat, good and bad, are growing there.
First, notice that in this world and in our personal lives, the good and the bad grow up together. In fact, they even depend on each other, they need each other. Good and bad exist together, and without the one you would not even recognize the other. Like a fine painting which uses shadows in order to made light appear all the brighter, good and evil are here together and even belong together.
" …Someone 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 …The servants said to the householder, ’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 time. "
Good things and bad things, positive and negative actually need each other? They depend on each other. And if you totally destroyed the bad, you would destroy the good as well. You psychology buffs will suspect that I’m talking about codependence, where a sick person needs a well person to make it okay to be sick, and a well person needs a sick person to make him feel self-righteous!
Good things and bad things often need each other. If you could cure every disease and eliminate the cause of every illness, then the medical professions would dry up. There would be no need for them. Now do we really want that to happen? Do we want to miss the joy of healing or of being healed?
If you could give everyone in the world enough to eat, clothing to wear, shelter and the other necessities, then there would be no charities, no welfare organizations, no need for anybody to give anything to anyone else! Do we really want that to happen? Do you want to miss the joy of giving and receiving?
And, in the most extreme case of all, if every human being were perfect, if every person were able to be in a completely harmonious relationship with God, then there would be no need for churches, no need for forgiveness, no need for the gospel. In fact, there would be no need for Christ! If everybody could get it all together with the Lord, there would be no need for Christ to have come. Would we really want that? As someone has put it, we human beings are more fortunate than the angels, because we have experienced forgiveness, and the angels never knew what that was like!