Difficult sorting

Some get it. Some do not.

The hardest part about parables is that some people don’t understand.

Some people think they are nice stories.

Some people think they are fun to hear, that they make the teaching parts interesting.

But if you listen closely to the stories that Jesus was telling, it is clear that he didn’t think of them as nice stories.

Here’s what he says in a couple stories:

Some people are weeds.

Some people are thistles.

Some people are sharks.

Some people are carp.

Some people are shallow.

Some people are dense.

“Jesus,” we want to say. “That’s pretty brutal. We can’t call people those names. Besides, everyone is a golden retriever or a beaver or a lion or an otter. There are no personality scales with carp.”

Jesus was not, however,  trying to help people discover their best way of working. He was describing whether they are good or evil.

It feels harsh to us. It feels judgmental. And it is.

It isn’t up to us to judge, mind you, and so we cannot usurp the authority Jesus is claiming. However, he is saying that there will be judgment. There will be a sorting between evil people and good people. And in the meantime, they are all mixed together.

One of the lessons for disciples seems to be, don’t focus on finding weeds. Put your energy into being good wheat, into being healthy bass. It will make it easier to find you.  Another seems to be that there are people who are intentionally evil, who are working on purpose to mislead and weaken. Another seems to be that it might be hard to tell the difference, until you start seeing the seeds. Another is that a randomly-dropped net will get some of each.

So be aware.