I’ve been pulling weeds in my grass for the past few days. Runners. The kind that have a bit that sticks out on the top, but really, it’s a huge system of connections under the surface. You want a healthy lawn, so you pull hard on one bit and you feel like you’ve done something, but you really haven’t addressed the root issue (see what I did there?).
Sin is like that. It manifests in one way, and you might get rid of a little thing (which often feels quite big), but there is really something much deeper and insidious that must be attended to if you are to have a healthy soul. For example, you may struggle to do your dishes—unloving for sure. You could get yourself to do the dishes so your roommates don’t have to, but underlying may be a love of pleasure, relaxation and self. It may be a pride that says others must serve you. It may be a desire to control those around you. You could probably just do your dishes, but that ugly undersin will still be there. Addressing that undersin is a great personal application to this little parable.
I think that systemic racism is similar. One horrific way its manifesting right now (and has been) is the treatment of black men by some policemen and by those doing “citizens arrests”. There are many other ways towards many other cultural groups that the undersin of tribalism and racism has reared its head in the USA and around the world. Underneath is a whole system of injustice that is deep and long. You could check out the podcast 1619 by the New York Times to learn more about slavery and its continuing affects in the African American community today. It’s been very enlightening for us to learn as the parents of two black children. Addressing the undersin of our country is a corporate application to this little parable.
This is a bit similar to what the Bible talks about when it says that a good tree bears good fruit and a bad tree bears bad fruit. Jesus at one point says, “make the tree good.”
We have a lot of work as a culture to do of carefully seeing how the different little weeds are connected to get out the root of it all, but it’s worth it to have a nice, healthy lawn that all can enjoy themselves upon.