“They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ but there is no peace. Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; they did not even know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be cast down,” says the LORD.” – Jer 6:14-15.
Jeremiah’s message caused no small outcry amongst his brothers and sisters who were unfaithful. And because his message was so public and had “stirred the pot”, the unfaithful who were guilty had to find some way divert the attention away from themselves. Notice the method, the motive, and the madness:
1) The method: They cried “peace, peace”. In other words, Jeremiah was labeled as a trouble maker and problem-causer. The easiest way for the ungodly to water down the influence of his rebuke was by appealing to the people’s desire for “peace”. We see this today in local churches when sin is ignored and clever buzz phrases are used such as, “We need to move forward”, “We’ve had too much strife and bickering”, etc. Indeed moving forward should be the number one goal (Phil 3:14), but turning a blind eye and deaf ear to sin in order to get there is the worst possible way to go about it. Ezekiel saw the same problem in his day when he stated in Ezek 13:14-16 that they had plastered the walls around them with white wash. Sin must never be winked at, ignored, or minimized. It must be confronted and eliminated through repentance and ultimately church discipline if necessary. This is to prevent the leavening influence from spreading, the emboldening of the wicked, and to keep the purity of Christ’s church intact.
2) The motive: Jeremiah states that the reason for superficial cries of peace is because the unfaithful have forgotten how to feel guilty for their sin. They are not ashamed, they sin but don’t blush. This is a terrible state to be in but worse for those whom are influenced by their cries for "peace". Some others are not ashamed because they view the admitting of wrong as a weakness. The truth is, there is no greater proof of character than one who admits his sin and takes action to the level of 2 Cor 7:11 in vindicating himself of the wrong. What man often sees as weakness is really strength, and what man prides himself as strength is so often weakness. May we never reach a level of wickedness that forgets how to blush and feel guilty for wrong we have committed not just toward others but toward God.
3) The madness: Lastly, Jeremiah states that the whitewash will not last forever. While these unfaithful go the route of the proverbial ostrich, God has not forgotten and will not forget. The judgment will be fast and it will be furious. This magnitude of God’s judgment should show us the magnitude of sin in God’s eyes and the seriousness we must show towards it. If we love our brother, we will see to it that he corrects his error no matter what the consequences may be. Sometimes the consequences are broken relationships, being slandered and labeled as a trouble-maker, and even ostracized. But take courage, you faithful; the prophets of old were thus treated and so was our Lord. This puts us in good company.