[Mar 15]--Cold, Heartless, and Cruel

Jeremiah 8:18-9:2

Have you ever heard of the myth of Cassandra? She was cursed by the gods in a particularly cruel way: She was given the gift of predicting the future, but no one would ever believe her prophecies. She saw the doom of a city, warned the inhabitants, and they ignored her.

How would you react if that happened to you? You can see, as clear as a summer day, the approaching doom of a group of people. You warn them-explicitly and repeatedly—and they either ignore you or threaten you. You’ve warned them, you’ve prayed for them, you’ve done everything you can to get their attention. Instead of being grateful for caring for them, they accuse you of the basest of motives, of being cold and heartless. What would you do?

I can tell you my instinctive reaction, and probably most of you would say the same if you’re honest: “All right then, you can all go to Hell! Someday I’ll be laughing while you’re screaming in agony!” I’m not saying that’s right, but it’s certainly understandable.

It’s certainly not the reaction of our Lord to ungrateful sinners. As surely as he lives, he takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.

And it wasn’t the reaction of Jeremiah. If you read his book from cover to cover, he has some of the harshest things to say about his own people. They’re miserable, rotten, unfaithful sinners. Again and again and again and again he warned them of the wrath to come. And their responses ranged from indifference to hostility.

And yes, he was angry at them. He was disgusted by their behavior.

But his main reaction was twofold: prayer and tears. Since his people were crushed, he was crushed. He mourned for them. He longed to see a “balm,” a healing physician for them. There’s a reason he’s known as the “weeping prophet”: He longed for the ability to cry out for them night and day, to let flow a fountain of tears. He saw them not just as sinners who deserved punishment but as lost sinners who desperately needed a Savior.

You see, this is a lie that the Enemy loves to promote, that anyone who tells a Non-Christian about their appointment with the Judgment and about their desperate need for a Savior is doing so out of a self-righteous attitude. Nothing could be further from the truth. Especially as N.T. believers, we're fully cognizant of the fact that we deserve God’s anger just as much as anyone else. We know we’re saved by his grace, not based on anything we’ve done. Like the old saying told us, I’m a beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.

OK, so that’s a good rejoinder for those who accuse us of being hard-hearted towards those who disagree with us. But what about us as believers?

My question to you and to me is very pointed: Do I reflect the heart of Jeremiah? Yes, he was brave and bold enough to preach an unpopular message to a hostile audience. Am I brave enough to do that when the opportunity arises? And do I take it to the next step: Am I compassionate enough to tell people that they desperately need the Savior? When I think about where my lost friends and co-workers and family are heading, does it cause me to weep like the prophet? Like the Spirit who inspired him?

Father, to NOT tell someone what they need to hear, THAT is cold-hearted and a lack of compassion. Please, make my heart like yours.

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