Read Jeremiah 8:10-11
10 Therefore I will give their wives to other men
and their fields to new owners.
From the least to the greatest,
all are greedy for gain;
prophets and priests alike,
all practice deceit.
11 They dress the wound of my people
as though it were not serious.
“Peace, peace,” they say,
when there is no peace. (NIV)
There is a good sort of peace and a bad sort of peace. God offers peace between his human creation and himself. It is a genuine peace, made possible by much pain and made real by an honest facing of what was wrong between him and his people.
There is another sort of peace which is counterfeit. It was preached and practised by the tame court prophets and priests of Jeremiah’s time. They told the ungodly king at the time just what he wanted to hear. They assured the populace as a whole that all was well. Naturally enough, they were well regarded.
Then along comes Jeremiah, who upset all their lovely sounding sentiments. Things were not right, things were not good. The people are not well, and they are not being given the right medicine. They need to turn from their wickedness and come back to God’s ways, not blithely carry on as if nothing was wrong.
There is a time for soothing words, and an assurance of peace and hope. But there is also a time for challenging words, a reminder that catastrophe is around the corner if things don’t change. Followers of Jesus are not merely ‘nice’ people. They certainly aren’t the equivalent of moral ‘attack dogs’, but nor are they those who simply say what people want to hear for the sake of popularity.
As the old saying goes, Christians are sent into the world to comfort the disturbed and also to disturb the comfortable.