Wednesday, August 10, 2016

How Can We Say There is Peace, When There is No Peace!

Readings for the Day
Jeremiah 5-6, John 12

Verses for the Day
“From the least to the greatest,
all are greedy for gain;
prophets and priests alike,
all practice deceit.
14 They dress the wound of my people
as though it were not serious.
‘Peace, peace,’ they say,
when there is no peace.
15 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?
No, they have no shame at all;
they do not even know how to blush.
So they will fall among the fallen;
they will be brought down when I punish them,”
says the Lord.

As Jeremiah points out how far Israel has fallen away from God, he preaches that not only have the people turned away from God, but also the spiritual leaders, the prophets and priests. And just what was their deceit? They told the people what they wanted to hear. The swept under the rug the extent of the greed and sinfulness of the people of God Why? Because they were involved in it too. Jeremiah says, "they dress the wound of my people as if it is not serious."

And by failing to recognize the wound, infection set in. Little acts of disobedience turned into the outright rejection of God, and developing a desire for false and worthless gods. By giving themselves over to foreign gods, God sends a foreign people to judge them. In a sense God is giving them what their actions say they want. God gives them the freedom to pursue other gods, but as they withdraw from Him, He allows them to experience life without Him. But instead of rebuking the people, the priests and prophets tell them what they want to hear, and minimize their behavior as if it were nothing. On top of this, they don't even "blush" when they sin. They are not ashamed because they think they are above reproach.

Spiritual leaders and pastors face the same temptations today. In an era where people want to minimize sin and rationalize bad behavior, it takes courage for the spiritual leader in the congregation to speak the truth in love. And before they can do this, they need to root out their own sin. Though no leader is perfect and still struggles with a sinful nature, A leader can only lead their people where they are first willing to go. God grants leaders authority but they must use it wisely and be a model for those they lead.

And this doesn't just call out pastors, but anyone who has been granted spiritual authority over others. I.e. Parents. As with all of the gifts God has given us, to whom much is given much is required. We see this not only in the church but also in the world. As we see what is going on in the world we need leaders who will not say there is peace, when there is no peace. We need leaders that lead with their God given authority and don't abuse it.

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