How to understand evil?
Evil is found in all the world, in the Church, and in us. Jesus responds to this question with the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God sows the wheat by day, but his enemy sows the weeds by night. In today’s reality, wheat and weeds are mixed. When the workers ask the man to pluck the weeds, the owner answers that it is better to leave them mixed because there is a risk of removing the wheat.
Some people ask why does God not take all the bad guys(evil) out of this world? The answer is that in all of us God and the enemy have sown and continue to sow. If we want the bad guys to be eliminated, there is a chance that we could also be eliminated.
Surely we are all a mix of wheat and weeds. Christ gives us two pieces of advice:
- Have patience, because some of those who are now weeds could become wheat.
- Have faith in God, and that faith will help to change this reality. God will act, and the weeds will be burned and the wheat will be stored.
Unlike God, we cannot know people’s hearts—or where their lives might take them—or their potential for redemption. As wonderful as it would be to have a “pure” world, a world without sinners, Jesus tells us that only in the harvest will purity be possible.
The principle of patience that Jesus espouses here can be helpful in every relationship. A husband will do well to be patient with his imperfect wife and a wife with her imperfect husband. Parents will do well to be patient with imperfect children and children with imperfect parents.
We are sinners living among sinners. If we demand too much, condemn too quickly, or break off relationships too easily, we doom ourselves to a lifetime of revolving-door relationships or perpetual loneliness.
We who hope to receive grace must also be willing to extend it.