The Wheat and the Tares

The need of patience in solving problems is one of the many lessons that one is slow to learn; for the removal of the obstacle sometimes seems to us the only solution of any given problem. In the parable of the wheat and the tares, when the servants questioned the householder concerning the tares, saying, "Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?" the latter answered: "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." When confronted with problems, are we not tempted with this same argument, namely, the desire to remove, rather than to overcome the obstacle?

In the home, in the office, in the schoolroom, or in the church, does not a circumstance sometimes present itself whereby one's freedom seems limited, his progress hampered, his happiness threatened by an opposing thought; and is not one's first thought the desire to be freed from it? Then do not criticism, resentment, and self-pity often demand entrance and indulgence? How alert and persistent one must be in shutting out these offending errors! The refusal to evade the winning of victory over evil, however distasteful the necessary effort may seem to be, and choosing to let "all things work together for good," if patiently and persistently maintained, transforms any seeming obstacle into an opportunity; and thereby one gains a firmer hold on the uses of good.

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So-called hard problems and tight places, being in themselves undesirable, drive men for refuge to God; and there, "in the quiet sanctuary of earnest longings" as Mrs. Eddy tells us in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 15), is unfolded the needed and precious lesson of the supremacy of good. There one learns the wisdom of not forcing a demonstration, but of working patiently and trustingly until "the harvest," the hour of spiritual realization, when evil is seen as unreal and forsaken. Oftentimes, one must patiently pray to be enabled to recognize and lay off his self-inflicted bondage to some form of error or sin. Then he loses all satisfaction in its indulgence, and renounces it. Our Leader counsels (Ibid., p. 542), "Let Truth uncover and destroy error in God's own way, and let human justice pattern the divine." Ceasing to outline how good shall be manifested and willingly letting God's will govern all one's thinking releases one from a false sense of responsibility and opens the way for divine guidance. In the meantime, whatever compels one strictly to mind his own business and control his own thoughts is a great blessing.

An important step toward the overcoming of any error lies in ceasing to be annoyed by it and refusing to give it seeming power and reality. The silent example of right thinking and acting, by which one reflects patience and good will under trying conditions, is more potent than any wordy argument; and in the fullness of time it is bound to bear fruit. Willingness to grasp the viewpoint of another, meeting him with sympathetic interest, invariably leads to a better understanding. So, gradually and gently, the right way out of a difficulty is revealed. "Mutual compromises will often maintain a compact which might otherwise become unbearable," our Leader tells us (ibid., p. 59). In the light of Science, outward conditions and circumstances are secondary, and can be more readily harmonized when one has learned that real happiness is a true mental state, not dependent on externals.

When one chooses to let God govern every situation, he reverses his zeal to inform or reform others to that of conforming his own thinking more closely to good. Thereby one earns the happiness that is changeless, namely, conscious communion with God, and awakens to the glorious realization that, instead of being obstacles to progress, the tares have furnished occasions for learning how to be more compassionate, more patient.

This lesson from the parable of the wheat and the tares was revealed to a student of Christian Science at a time when he seemed placed in a difficult situation and every step seemed to be thwarted by antagonism. Seeking help from a Christian Science practitioner, he was told that only by patience and self-control would the solution of the problem be unfolded, step by step. Through his daily work, and through study of all references along this line of thought in the Bible and in Mrs. Eddy's writings, his path became illumined by the removal of the tares not from his environment, but from his own thinking; that is, as he rejected impatience, criticism, resentment, self-pity, replacing them with the love that "thinketh no evil," loving cooperation was restored. Now, he thanks God that in a seemingly hard experience he came to perceive, in a greater measure than ever before, the wisdom of the words of James, "Let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."

August 9, 1930

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