A Pepper Plant, A Weed, and Judgment

Pepper Plant and Weed In the spring, I typically get very excited at the prospect of planting a garden.   Visions of fresh, homegrown tomatoes, peppers, and herbs fill my head, crowding out past gardening failures.  This year was no different.  I planted tomatoes, cauliflower, oregano, basil, and pepper plants in the hopes of having a good harvest.

The summer season has cooperated with me, and it looks like I will have a bumper crop of tomatoes to make salsa, and this year, for the first time, I have harvested peppers from my pepper plants.  Each year I optimistically buy red pepper plants, thinking that this will be the year when the rabbits won’t eat them, or they won’t die because I forgot to water them or weed them.

Weeding is tricky business, I’ve found.  Early in the growing season, I’m diligent to pull away at anything that doesn’t resemble the plants I’ve purchased.  But weeds are sneaky.  Sometimes they are so embedded in the plant that they aren’t noticeable until they are quite large.  That’s what happened with my pepper plants this year.  By the time I noticed this rather large weed (whose name I don’t know), it had grown to almost six inches tall.  When I tried to pull or dig it out, the whole plant started to come with it. I couldn’t have that because by then, I had started to see a number of tiny peppers beginning to sprout.  So I let the weed alone, content to grow alongside my burgeoning red pepper plant.

Today the weed is about two feet tall and very healthy.  My pepper plant is also very healthy, and bearing delicious peppers for my family to enjoy. The weed did not affect the pepper plant’s identity or change my purpose and plan for it.  As I considered my pepper plant and this weed, I began to see some similarities between our true identity as sons and daughters included by God and the presence of sins in our lives.

In the parable of the weeds found in Matthew 13:24-29, we see the story of a fellow gardener who sowed wheat, hoping for a good harvest, but in the night, an enemy sowed a bunch of weeds in his field.  When the young plants started to grow, it was clear that there were weeds growing among the desired crop.  The first inclination of the servants was to pull the weeds out, but the wise farmer told them to let the weeds alone and allow the wheat and the weeds (tares) to grow together until the harvest.  At that time, the harvester would sort out the good and dispose of the bad.

            I’ve often heard this parable used to talk about how God supposedly lets believers and unbelievers dwell together in this world, and at the final judgment, the believers get the free pass to heaven and the unbelievers to hell.  That interpretation doesn’t sit well if we understand our inclusion in Christ and in his relationship with the Father and Holy Spirit.  I see a better explanation of this parable as the way the Father, Son, and Spirit look at the sin and error in our lives.

            God knows our true identity as his sons and daughters, but the evil one sows thoughts of separation and unworthiness in us.  Through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, he took all the sins, the thoughts of error and separation, into himself and bore them into death.  Then when he arose, he included us, free from sin, in his relationship with the Father and Holy Spirit.  Because our identity as adopted children is secure, God allows the tares of sin to stay sometimes because ultimately at the harvest, the fire of judgment will burn away anything that tries to diminish our true identity as a child of God.

So I’m content to watch this weed flourish because in my eyes, it doesn’t take away one bit from the beautiful red pepper plant that I’m growing in my garden.  Its day of judgment is coming soon.  We can take heart that our struggles with sin, the wrong thoughts of nonacceptance by God, and the feelings of unworthiness, will all be dealt with by God’s righteous and loving judgment.

~by Nan Kuhlman

10 comments so far

  1. Carrie Smith on

    Nan, I love this! I think it goes well with a workshop I went to recently about 2 Cor. 5:17 and the struggle to understand how our old self & new self interact at times. And I agree this explanation for the wheat & weeds is a much better for the passage in Matthew. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Nan Kuhlman on

      Carrie,

      I think I might have been at the same workshop as you :). Thanks for taking time to comment!

      Nan

  2. Jeannine on

    I love your imagery and commentary – this resonates with me completely!

    Jeannine

    • Nan Kuhlman on

      Jeannine,

      I appreciate your encouragement!

      Nan

  3. Emory on

    Scripture is a lots more friendlier when the foundation of our Theology is from the understanding of our adoption and inclusion into the Trinity for all humanity.

    • Nan Kuhlman on

      Emory,

      I like that you’ve recognized that our understanding of God the Father, Son, and Spirit will dramatically affect our reading of scripture. Once we understand that we have a God who loves us and wants to be in relationship with us, reading scripture and living life become a joy, not a burden.

      Thanks for your comment,
      Nan

  4. Jill Valentine on

    All I have to say is, Thank you, God!!!

  5. Leona Forste on

    Thank you for this commentary Nan, I was going through an ordeal with the responsiblities of administrator on an internet site, and there was a person who lied about who he was to sneak into one of our groups, and to spy out our liberties and try to steal away our members by deceit. Your article came just in time to remind me that Gods creation includes this man. He is not a weed. The benefit: The things he was reading to get the low down on us will one day be useful to him, he just doesnt know it yet. And you reminding me of who he is in Christ regardless of who he thinks he is now, it is not as a weed. It helped me to make the right decision so I went to the group to pluck him out and let him grow somewhere else….but alas… another administrator less patient or more knowing than myself did us all a favor and got rid of the interloper. Thanks for helping me see the difference between the weed and the plant.

    • Nan Kuhlman on

      Leona,

      I’m glad you were reminded that Christ has won for us all, and not just those who know it fully right now. Best of luck as you continue your administration of the website group!

      Nan


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