My husband is not much of a Sci-Fi fan, but one of his favourite films is “Blade Runner”. It’s all about a policeman chasing replicants – people who look and act like human beings, and are totally convinced that they are humans, but they are not. The great mystery is whether the policeman, played by Harrison Ford, is himself a replicant, but just doesn’t know it. The secret, so my husband insists, is in the origami animals.
I was reading one of the parables this morning – the one about the farmer who sows good seed, and then the enemy comes along and sows weeds. When the workers realise what has happened they ask whether they should pull out the weeds. The farmer tells them to wait until harvest time. If they start pulling out the weeds now, chances are they will end up pulling out the good plants by mistake.
When it comes to working out who is a Christian and who isn’t, it is pretty much like “Blade Runner” – according to the parable, it is hard to tell.
I can remember a few weeks towards the end of term. It was not a good time for me. I felt that I was being assailed on every side. I know that 2 Corinthians:8 talks about being pressed on every side by troubles but not being crushed and broken – well, that might be many people’s experience, but it wasn’t mine. I was feeling well crushed and broken. I was reacting in a less than positive manner!
Being a teacher of Religious Education, I am often asked about my own faith. In this incident, the question was whether I was a Christian or not. I generally feel that if I am asked about my faith, I have an opportunity to witness – I have not initiated the conversation. Sometimes, it is not appropriate to talk about my faith. In this particular incident, all I could think about was how bad a testimony I had been giving. I was missing the mark by a long way. It mattered that God’s name was honoured, and I wasn’t doing that through my actions.
The word “Sometimes” crept out of my mouth. The minute I said it I was overwhelmed by a sense of shame. My intentions were good in that I did not want my faithless behaviour to be associated with God. I had badly let God down. I felt I was doing more harm than good to His kingdom, and perhaps until I sorted myself out, I should not claim to be His citizen.
God’s reaction came to me so clear - “Do you seriously think that I would ever disown you just because right now you have a lousy testimony? If I refuse to disown you, I expect that you will not disown me.”
Anyone looking over my life in those weeks would have been hard pressed to believe that I was a Christian, based on the way that I was living my life – and yet, I was. I looked pretty much like a weed – and had those workers come along, I would have been pulled up without a second thought.
Right back from the time Eve looked on that apple and took a bite, we have been inclined to be swayed by what we see. We look on the outward actions of people where God looks at the heart.
I have nurtured too many weeds in my garden and pulled up too many genuine flowers to know that I really don’t know enough to make judgements about who is or who isn’t a seed or a weed. God knows!