Recently, I reread Jesus’ parable of the tares and wheat when it came up again in a Christian Science Bible Lesson. He told the multitudes of people who had the benefit of hearing his unique message that it illustrated the nature of the kingdom of heaven. The ending of the parable has always intrigued me. The servants of the householder ask if they should go into the fields and gather up the tares (weeds) in order to protect the wheat crop. They are told not to uproot the weeds in case they pull up the wheat prematurely in the process. Let them grow together for now, and at harvest they can be separated out, at which time the weeds can be dispensed with properly (see Matt. 13:24–30).
To me this story symbolizes the value of patience, the importance of subjugating human will, and the wisdom of trusting God to do His own work. As I studied the parable it dawned on me how much I can continue to learn from it, particularly in regard to my relationship with my teenage son. When I look at him, I tend to see both the wheat (the good in human character) and the tares (the not-so-good), rather than only the good, which is his true nature. And that’s something I’m praying to improve.
I can remember when our son was a tiny baby and he was absolute perfection in my eyes, with not one blemish to any aspect of his character. As he grew, I began to notice in him more and more evidence of outside influences, not all of them good. They seemed like tares, which Jesus spoke of in the Bible, that were being secretly sown in the garden of my child’s thought (mine too, I’m afraid, since I was the one seeing them). The parable reminds me that it’s not my job to yank out the tares, but to continue to fertilize and water the wheat and to trust that the divine authority, namely God, will do the final separation of tares from wheat. In other words, as a loving parent it’s my job to value and encourage the good in my son’s character; not to be fooled into identifying him with the weeds.