Many years ago, I planted wild flower seeds in a patch of ground in my back yard. The first year I did so, I was rewarded with a garden filled with a variety of colourful and beautiful flowering plants. The second year, an assortment of green shoots sprang up. When these plants were young, I couldn’t tell if they were wild flowers or noxious weeds.
When they grew to maturity, it became obvious. I pulled the weeds out, burned them, and left the good plants.
When I meet people who are living very sinful lives, I often try to visualize them as they once were – innocent little children who did not know “the evil that destroys man’s life.” I often wonder, how did these children grow up to become pimps, thieves, liars and murderers? Also, I wonder, what causes some of them to repent and some of them to die in their sins? Unlike plants that can only be what they are, humans have the power of choice.
Yes, God gives us the power to choose. Yet, He does not leave us without guidance. During my life, I have been warned, rebuked and punished for doing evil, and I have been praised, thanked and rewarded and for doing good. I have seen many movies, read many books, and heard many sermons that encouraged goodness and condemned evil.
God does not want anyone to perish. We were once beautiful, innocent children and He desires that we remain simple and innocent or become so again. The next time you are tempted to sin, look at a picture of yourself as a little child. Visualize that child doing the thing that you are tempted to do. Think of your mother and father seeing you commit that evil deed. Remember that every secret, dirty thing that you do in this world we be plain for everyone to see in the life to come – unless you repent.
Jesus also used the analogy of good and bad plants: “Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn’” (Mt. 13:30). God is certainly patient and merciful, but He is also a God of judgment. Do not put Him to the test. Do not believe that God will save you even if you do not repent. Do not put off repentance. Tomorrow is promised to no one.