God’s busy giving Jeremiah a list of all the reasons He’s angry with His people… all of the reasons they infuriate and disgust Him…
… they ignore God in favor of their own desires.
… they’re violent.
… deceit flies out of their mouths like birds out of a crowded cage.
… they’ve used evil to advance themselves.
… they ignore and oppress the poor.
And while this is all going on, where are the prophets and priests charged with dragging God’s people back to Truth? They’re busy telling the people what they want to hear, prophesying lies and ruling by their own standards.
But it gets worse, God says. What could be worse than leaders too busy protecting their own interests to tell God’s people they’re heading down the road to destruction? Too concerned with their power and popularity to speak truth. What could possibly be worse than this?
“My people love it this way”. (Jeremiah 5:31)
The people know their priests and prophets are lying to them. They know about the cover up. And they prefer being lied to.
I suppose it’s easy to jump right to Western church-bashing and insert some well-worn phrases about “itching ears” and comments from preachers who feel they can only preach what people want to hear. (I’m a pastor’s kid, so I’ve met a few pastors who feel this way…) But what is the “Western church” if not each one of us who make it up? And I don’t have to look further than my own preferences to see that I, too, prefer to be lied to. Often.
I love to hear that true success will come from me making much of myself and realizing my own goals instead of the truth that it’ll come through me denying myself, making much of God, and working towards the good of the Body.
I love to hear someone say I deserve it, that I’m somebody special instead of the truth that I still have a lot of work to do and a lot of maturity to grow towards.
I love to believe that I can earn it instead of the truth that very fundamental things are gifts of grace.
I love to wallow in the thought that certain choices don’t matter, that I can make it up another day instead of the hastening truth that each moment matters, each choice is important.
In short – I prefer the lies taught to me by the prophets and priests of my culture, my upbringing.
More often than not, my actions say it all:
I’d rather you just lie to me, thanks.