The worst enemy is the one the comes as a friend! Two friends work in the same organization. One has a disability that makes it difficult for him to drive and his friend decides to pick him up every morning to work and drops him off every evening after work. This support system from the kind friend continues for a very long time; running into years.
At some point, the organization opens another branch, and the man who was helping his friend to work was suggested as a capable hand to head the new office. The headquarters of the organization makes a request for four letters of attestation from four individuals who are blindly picked and asked to write secretly and independently to attest to the man’s ability to handle the new branch.
During the final screening of the prospective manager of the new branch, the general manager decides to do something very unusual. He invites the four individuals at different times and asks them to read their attestations directly to him and to defend it. Unknown to them, GM keeps the man behind a cubicle from where he could hear their testimonies. The first three read their attestation, and they are beautiful and positive.
The fourth and last person to make his presentation is the man with a disability. The voice of his friend brings joy to the man who is facing the screening. He assures himself that his friend’s attestation would be the best. But he was wrong! The man’s testimony is nothing pleasant from the beginning to the end. He thinks he is the only one attesting as the instruction makes him believe as condemns his friend’s prospective assignment at the new branch with every negative argument he finds relevant.
After reading the poisonous attestation, the general manager invites the potential manager to come out from his hiding, and he then asks the man with a disability to defend his prose, but he couldn’t. Finally, what he could say is that he didn’t want his friend to become the manager because he would miss his daily conveyance to the office and back to his house!
The general manager is hurt and tells the prospective manager that if the man with a disability is the only friend he has, he should consider himself friendless because he is worse than an enemy.
In life, we have friends as well as enemies, and this is consistent with the duality in life. It is very hard not to have enemies even when you try hard to make everyone your friend. In fact, your kindness, truthfulness, peacefulness, fairness, and other virtues could attract more enemies to you even more than those who do not possess such qualities; the same thing happened to our Lord Jesus Christ (John 15:25).
The Gospel today (Matt. 13:24-43) is part of the seven kingdom parables our Lord Jesus Christ gives in Chapter thirteen of the Gospel of Matthew. It is also one of the two parables in all the Gospels that our Lord accords an interpretation, the first being the parable of the sower.
In the parable, he tells us that a man sows good seeds (wheat) in his field and while everyone was asleep his enemy sows bad seeds (weed) among the good seeds.
As time progresses, his servants notice that there are weeds among the wheat and suggest the uprooting of the weeds. The householder discloses that an enemy has done that but tells them to leave them to grow until the time of the harvest when the weeds would be taken away for burning, and the wheat would go for storage in the barn.
Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us in the interpretation that he is the householder. The field is the world; the good seeds are the children of the kingdom while the bad seeds are children of the evil one (Satan). Furthermore, the harvest is the end of time while the harvesters are angels of God.
We shall devote the rest of the reflection on the activities of the enemy and the seeds on the field while applying the fruit of the reflection to our personal lives.
The Enemy Factor
The highlight of the parable is the activity of the enemy. We already know that the enemy is the evil one. In the first place, he is an intruder; a thief and a destroyer (John 10:10a). Furthermore, he enters by leveraging on some conditions and materials that support his plan.
While the parable identifies the evil one as the enemy, it is important that we also identify two other enemies that are at work in agreement with the devil. They are the human enemies that represent men and women of bad will, like the man with a disability in our opening story, who are always looking out for an opportunity to sow bad seeds.
Another enemy which we should take very seriously is the enemy within us namely, ourselves. Yes, we could become dangerous enemies to ourselves when we continually sow negative seeds into our lives through our thoughts, words, and actions. We cannot live positive lives while operating with negative minds.
While everyone was asleep: There is a need for us to see the sleep here as referring to spiritual slumber. The enemy comes when people stop paying attention and allow all the negative things to come in and go out. For this reason, the Apostle Peter tells us (1 Pet. 5:8) to be vigilant because our enemy the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to eat.
Today, we have sleeping parents and guardians, we have sleeping teacher and instructors, we have sleeping religious leaders, teachers, priests, and pastors, we have sleeping leaders in the government. Everyone must not be asleep. Now is the time to wake up, the night is far gone (Romans 13:12). Remember that the enemy is always awake looking for an opportunity to sow bad seeds.
The enemy sows weeds amid the wheat: One of the weapons of the evil one is deception. Deception itself creates doubt and doubt could lead one to grave mistakes. We understand from the parable that the weeds have great resemblance with the wheat. Hence, the evil one brings something that is similar to deceive the eye while at the same time giving tough time to the wheat as they compete for space and nutrient.
In almost every good thing that comes our way, there is usually a negative replica or at best an imitation. The evil one often appears as the angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14), and deceive many. Today, as our communication technology is developing, the enemy is sowing bad seeds in the form of violence, falsehood, and immoral lifestyles and contents while many are asleep.
The harvest-time: The Book of Genesis (8:22) tells us that as long as the earth endures there will be seedtime and harvest-time. The siege of the evil one would eventually end. There will always be a harvest time for every sown seed, and the word of God says that by their fruits you shall know them (Matt. 7:16).
The patience of the householder to allow the weeds and wheat to grow together until the harvest-time is very instructive. God is always patient. His silence over the many evil around us does not mean that He is incapable of doing something about it. The Psalmist (Psalm 37:1), using the agricultural metaphor, tells us not to worry or fret when the wicked prospers as they would fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.
Time is the best test of any situation and the best time belongs to God. One characteristic of evil is that it can only last for a while because it cannot endure. The book of Revelation (12:7-8) tells us that war broke out in heaven, Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels, and they were defeated, and there was no longer a place for them. That means they had a place before, but they lost after a while.
As we march into the new week let us remember that the enemy is awake and looking for an opportunity to plant bad seeds into our fertile souls. We need to keep up with prayer, faith, and good works to avoid the schemes of the enemy. May the new week be enemy-free for you and more graces.