There is something everlastingly fascinating about the stories that Jesus told.  They are so short and simple, and yet they convey truths about life that are absolutely profound.  Take for example, the parable of the wheat and the weeds.  In just a few sentences, Jesus makes an accurate analysis of the moral dilemma of man.

He is telling us that we live in a world of good and evil, and it is going to be that way to the end of time.  This parable is not only a window through which we look out at the world, but it is also a mirror by which we look back at ourselves.

Most of us like to think of ourselves as essentially good people.  We’re the nice guys; at least we’re among them.  We believe in, and stand by, and work for the things that are right and real.  And there’s an element of truth to this image that we hold of ourselves, but we all know it isn’t the complete picture.

There is another side of every one of us.  We cannot explain it; we are not proud of it, but we know it’s there.  At times, for seemingly no reason, we can become cross and selfish and downright mean.  Later on, we will say, “I was not myself,” or “Something got into me,” or “I don’t know why I did that.”

We recognize that within the individual human heart there is a capacity for both good and evil.  In every one of us, there is a strange mixture between the wheat and weeds.

We can certainly observe this in the people around us.  There is a bit of coward in the bravest man and an element of courage in the biggest coward.  The old adage that says, “there is honor even among thieves” is true.  There is always something in our enemy that we admire and something in our best friend that we wish were not there.

Human nature can be wonderful, or it can be terrible.  It can fly higher that the eagle; it can crawl lower than the snake.  But the potential for good and the potential for evil seem almost unlimited.

Now, what do we do with this truth, once we have seen it?  Jesus tells us that we had best be realistic about and patient with human nature.  There is no way for us to organize some kind of crusade and go out and get rid of all the bad people.  If we decide to get rid of the bad people, where do we start and where do we stop?  That is a question that none of us is qualified to answer.

So, what we must do is just face the truth about ourselves in particular and people in general.  There is no reason for shallow optimism or deep pessimism about human nature.  Every person is a potential saint; this we need  to believe.

Jesus understood the dark side of human nature better than anyone else.  He knew what it could do.  It nailed Him to a cross.  But He kept on believing that people were redeemable, that people can change; and He believed it so deeply that He bet His life on it.  So, when we are tempted to lose faith in people, when we want to give up on people, when we are tempted to brand them “no good,” all we need to do is look at Jesus.  He keeps us believing in the human race.  He keeps us believing in people.  But most of all, He keeps us believing in ourselves, that we too can be like Jesus.  His grace is enough to make it happen!