Lord, speak to me through Your Holy Spirit, through Your Holy Word, today and forever.
Consider: "As God's chosen people ... clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance" (Col. 3:12,13).
In his vision of the future, Jeremiah sees the people in exile in Babylon, distraught and far from God. It is a vision that makes him weep for them, for they will be crushed and stranded, without compassionate neighbors to bind their wounds. Jeremiah's mood swings from tenderness and deep empathy at their pain and suffering (8:21--9:1) to anger and frustration with their lies and unfaithfulness (9:2). This is the experience of many leaders who love the people they serve.
Judah's exile will be the logical consequence of apostasy. Their relationship with God is already broken, and, because we are relational creatures, that brokenness is reflected in their damaged relationships with each other. Family relations and friendships are marked by unfaithfulness and deceit. People no longer know or recognize or speak the truth, but they manipulate one another and so they will need to face the process of God's refining and testing.
Strong foundations are needed for close relationships. They depend on faithfulness and truth. The picture here is one of turmoil and deception, where people no longer know how to relate beyond superficial cordiality and have given up on trust and openness towards each other. This kind of hypocrisy will never deepen into strong nourishing friendships or close, loving families. Instead, it will produce weariness (5)--something we are all too aware of in our world today. Jeremiah's message is clear: Stay faithful in our relationship with God, so we can be open and trustworthy in our relationships with each other. This is no guarantee against experiencing our own pain or affliction, but it will mean that, if we do, we will know the power of love and prayer to support and protect us, and keep us strong.
Which of your own relationships is less than open or truthful right now? How they might grow and flourish? How is Colossians 3:12,13 relevant?
Father, You call me to love You and love others. Infuse me with Your love so that my inter-personal relationships will be healthy.
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