Read Jeremiah 8
Focus on verse 11-12
Solving a problem with a Band-Aid solution is what we say when we attempt to take care of a problem by masking the symptoms rather than attempting to address the disease that is killing us. It is similar to taking painkillers to treat the chest pain of a heart attack. It may mask the pain if one takes enough of them, but the heart problem will continue to get worse until the heart stops beating. If a person with a heart condition desires to preserve his or her life, they must address the heart of the problem, which include keeping the heart going, and addressing the lifestyle issues that are causing the heart condition.
The nation of Israel had a spiritual heart problem. They had allowed their hearts to stray from worshiping God, and had allowed themselves to be enticed to follow after the idols of the false gods of the nations around them. The responses of the people to Jeremiah’s warning of coming judgment were essentially to put a Band-Aid on the symptoms. Their behavior is actually very similar to what I have heard when people in our progressive culture are challenged regarding some of the trends that seem to be shredding the moral values that formerly governed civil behavior. Even among those who claim to follow Christ, the message is has become very confusing.
In today’s reading Jeremiah writes; “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they committed abominations? No, they were not at all ashamed, they did not know how to blush.” (v. 11-12)
It often seems to me that we live in a society that has forgotten how to blush. Behaviors that our grandparents would have thought inconceivable are encouraged and protected by civil legislation, often by well-meaning, though seriously misguided, people. What is even more disturbing is that the message from the religious community is just as it was in Jeremiah’s day – saying “peace, peace, when there is no peace.” And so we cover up the moral issue that is killing us spiritually with yet another Band-Aid solution that numbs the guilt we feel so that we can go on in our sin without feeling bad when what we need most desperately is a healthy dose of sincere, heart rending repentance.
It is tragic to me that so many of North American church attending people are quite possibly only about fourteen inches away from experiencing true peace. We have the knowledge of God in our head – but it has not yet reached our heart. A simple drop of fourteen inches is the difference between death by heart attack and eternal life in Christ. It is the hardest, easiest thing one will ever do. Hardest because of the fear of losing habits and things that we are very attached to – easiest because all we really have to do is let go and fall into the waiting arms of Jesus. It is always a step of faith because we don’t know exactly what will happen if we do. Ironically, if we are honest with ourselves we have a pretty good idea of what will happen if we don’t, but we don’t like to think about that…and as always, the choice lies with us.