Confrontation!!! I noticed that a lot of us avoid confrontation because we either dread the awkwardness of it, feel like we are going to ruin a friendship because of it, or don’t know how to go about it. But the alternative to that is not peace because instead of dealing with the issues we are only masking them and I realized that when I choose to go the easy route of avoiding healthy confrontation, I am only maintaining a toxic atmosphere as I find myself in the end either gossiping about or being bitter towards them. Eventually the issues we try to hide will always come to the surface with time because they will keep on occurring and there is only so much you can bottle inside before the pressure becomes too great. What was once a manageable issue is now just a huge stinking mess as you spill out months if not years of annoyance anger, and bitterness.
To have peace you have to break all forms of false peace! In today’s context, what is the false peace that is trying to be preserved by the organization religion of the time? The fact that Jeremiah brings the bad news of God’s wrath and judgment is disrupting the “peaceful” lives of the people because what has become the norm in their lives is a lifestyle of sin. Judah has become comfortable with sin bu God will never be comfortable with it! Sin nurtured creates false peace and comfort but that is a lie that will eventually have a horrible ending!
Thus God is not having it and Jeremiah is proclaiming that things are not alright so that they can be right but Pashur who is the chief officer of the temple has Jeremiah beaten and put in a type of prison within the temple. The place where Jeremiah was held was the, “stocks in the upper Benjamin Gate of the house of the LORD” and this was the place where all false prophets or heretics were held. This was interesting because Pashur was imprisoning Jeremiah for being a heretic but his actions were only revealing that he in fact is the heretic! But Pashur in his mind was defending the peace of the realm but he was only defending false peace created by the religious system.
Well how do we know if we are defending false peace? When we choose to defend sin and not deal with the issues of our hearts. The sin of the people were very evident as it was contrary to the words of God and thus our knowledge and application of the word reveals to us whether we are in fact pursuing genuine peace or not.
Pashur in his actions reveals to us the temptation to keep things the same even at the expense of disrupting our relationship with God. The question we have to ask ourselves is whether we are willing to be disrupted to be better aligned with God or are we going to allow ourselves to be disrupted with God to be at peace with our own lifestyle? As we are closing our series on Jeremiah, I want us to really reflect on our lives because an unexamined life is a dangerous life to live because we can be going and doing things that are not good for us but have become the normal for us. To look upon our mistakes and flaws is always a humbling experience but essential to our growth and even in our walks with the LORD, to be humbled is not a bad thing but part of the process of maintaining the power of the Gospel in our lives.
To give some helpful tips to disrupt imitations of peace in our pursuit of God, here are some things we can do
Read the word of God and live it out!
This is the primary way we will know if what we do is in fact what pleases God or not. As it says in Joshua one, we are to meditate on it or think about it day and night!
Be willing to be confronted and confront others about sin
STOP! Before you confront, you best believe you need to check your heart before you do any confronting because if it is not done with a heart of love to see a person restored than you are only going to make it worse. So many times people in the name of “discernment” called people out but never offered a solution nor their further presence to walk with the person to restoration.
With that being said, confrontations goal is restoration. A confession that leads to openness with God and others and when it comes to others...
You may not be the one to be doing the confronting!
Most people cannot handle rebuke and especially from a person that they do not know as the common response is, “you cannot judge me!” So what do we do if we see sin or potential sin? Tell the proper authority figures in such a way to not accuse people but to tell them what you have seen/heard so that they can in privacy confront people. NEVER confront people in public as that is not restorative because it becomes a clown fiesta that only breaks relationships and makes everyone involved look foolish! If an authority figure cannot be found then a person that is close with the person should be sought because they can in love know how to confront them.
When confronted stay humble, patient, and then bring it before God to either confirm or reject.
One time I gave a very critical stance on the pulpit during a Friday night large group service of a celebrity pastor on their stance on a religious topic. A brother afterwards confronted me in private to tell me that I was in the wrong and I just took his rebukes in without saying a word because the thought that was going through my mind was that God could have sent this brother to correct me. Now the delivery was not the greatest but rather than rejecting it I just simply at a later time brought this issue before the LORD in prayer. God confirmed what I did was not right. I repented and moved on. Whether the delivery was right or wrong, always take it before God to confirm but until then, stay humble or you will get humbled.
As we look at the environment and culture that we have created daily with our actions; let the word of God correct, affirm, and develop the lives that truly glorify Him and bless the people around us!