Initially the Germans who invaded the Channel Islands seemed to be so nice to the local people. Especially since their presence resulted in a boom of the local economy. The Islanders felt they could get used to the German presence as long as they kept up their relentless buying.
Soon things became a little less rosy, however. Radios were confiscated, food was rationed and curfews were established. Even then, some Islanders could still accept these terms. After all, weren’t they at war?
On September 15, 1942, a new Nazi order appeared in the Evening Post, one that left the Islanders completely astonished. British-born Islanders would be deported to undetermined locations in Germany. The order came directly from Hitler himself. He was infuriated with the United Kingdom for deporting German citizens from Iran. How dare they! And he retaliated by deporting 1,186 British Islanders to three different camps in Germany. They ended up staying in these camps until the end of the war.
Another wave of deportations occurred in February 1943, in retaliation of a British commando raid on an island named Sark, where five Nazis were captured. Ninety Jersey Islanders were rounded up, 18 for each German captured. It doesn’t sound fair, does it?
The Islanders soon realized that these Germans were not there for their good. They were the enemy, and their true colors would become more and more evident.
Last time we discovered that those who genuinely proclaim the hope of the Kingdom are sent from God Himself. Sadly, in our midst there are weeds (just like the Nazis in Jersey) that have been sowed by the enemy himself for the sole purpose to devastating the message of hope.
In such circumstances we can’t help but ask, just as Jesus’ disciples did “Do you want us to go and pull them up?” (Matt 13:28b, NIV2)
It would make sense. If we are here to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, why tolerate those whose only purpose is to create discord and havoc? Logically it should be our duty to weed them out!
Amazingly, Jesus has other plans. “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them.” (Matt 13:29, NIV2)
It is not our role to eliminate the weed. If we would do so, we would uproot some wheat as well. Also where would our love be if we started to become exterminators? We may be judged by the world for being hypocritical, thanks to these weedy individuals, but if we end up starting to discriminate, wouldn’t we be called by even less flattering words?
After a particular director of university relations was hired at a certain Bible College in the U.S., he solemnly declared that he was an atheist. Wait! How did he get into that office? Wouldn’t he be a bad influence on these upcoming ministers of the Lord?
On the contrary! This man is astonished that no one is criticizing him. Instead the student body and his colleagues have shown nothing but love, love beyond anything he has ever experienced. Never in his life has he received so many hugs. After all, isn’t a seminary designed to be a light in this world?
These “weeds” in a church’s membership can also feel that love. Instead of condemning them, we should pray that they can meet our Savior face to face. We should also love them with all of our hearts, even though they may hurt us at times. After all, Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but to save: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17, NIV2)
What will happen with these weeds that seem so determined in their mission to remain prickly and uninvited? That we will discover in our next devotional.
Do you truly love me? How is this possible?
“For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:10)
(To access the entire “Kingdom of Power” devotional series, please click here.)