Friday, July 22, 2005

Tares & wheat

I’d like to talk about tares and wheat today.

The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

The temporal and unreal never touch the eternal and real. The mutable and imperfect never touch the immutable and perfect. The inharmonious and self-destructive never touch the harmonious and self-existent. These opposite qualities are the tares and wheat, which never really mingle, though (to mortal sight) they grow side by side until the harvest; then, Science separates the wheat from the tares, through the realization of God as ever present and of man as reflecting the divine likeness.

The tares and wheat grow side by side, and as they grow you can’t even tell them apart. They seem almost woven together. Yet when the time comes, when harvest is near, their different natures become clear and they can be separated. The good is kept, the waste is destroyed.

I find this very comforting. It gives me the reassurance that when the time is right, those qualities of thought I need to dispense with will become obvious. I don’t have to beat myself up about them now.

Like, for example, how passionate I am. When I get involved with something or someone I love, I’m *very* enthusiastic. I throw myself into it 100%. The tares and the wheat concept explains why sometimes this is good, and sometimes it’s very very bad. And those two results, you could say, grew side-by-side within me as I worked it out.

When the time came for me to dispense with the harmful elements of being passionate, I did struggle some. This felt like the fire burning up the tares. But when it was over, all that remained was the wheat. I learned how to differentiate between constructive enthusiasm and destructive sensuality. Once I knew the difference, the false and destructive simply fell away.

So what about the sinful deeds in my past? What I love too about the tares and wheat concept is once the tares are separated out, they are destroyed, and no lasting harmful effect remains. As Mary Baker Eddy writes in her tenets of Christian Science, “We acknowledge God's forgiveness of sin in the destruction of sin and the spiritual understanding that casts out evil as unreal. But the belief in sin is punished so long as the belief lasts.”

I suffered with the effects of the tares -- heartbreak, loneliness, fear -- as they were growing alongside the better lessons I was learning -- purity, fidelity, service. But when I’d grown enough to see the tares for what they were, their destruction was swift and I was left with only the wheat. I’m still passionate about things I love, but I’m free from the darker side.

When I think about the wide world, items in the news that tell of tares growing everywhere, I remember to consider that the wheat is growing, too, and there will be a harvest that sorts it all out. This harvest happens within each one of us, day by day. The tares can’t last forever.


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