Psalms: 72
Old Testament: Jeremiah 3:6-18
New Testament: Romans 1:28-2:11

Yet for all this, [Israel’s] sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but only in pretense, says the Lord. (Jeremiah 3:10)

Out of all the Prophetic books, Jeremiah no doubt is one of the harshest in terms of message. The author makes no excuses for the behaviour of the people, but openly proclaims them as whores.

Of course, the reading ends up as a call to repentance, and with the assurance of God’s love for his people; but that’s not what I want to focus on today.

Instead, I want to acknowledge that the Bible is not all filled with positive messages. There is a ton of God’s wrath and vengence being poured out on nations, peoples and family. Sometimes these are coupled with a specific call to repent, while at other times, YHWH simply gets fed up with the people’s sin and decides to punish it.

Oftentimes, I find both myself and other theologians glossing over these ugly bits of Scripture; when in all honesty, I don’t think we can or should.

In light of the post-modern rise of human secularism, there has been a tendency among faith communities to emphasize the loving, compassionate, accepting nature of God….at least within liberal circles (which I tend to find a home in).

Don’t get me wrong….I am totally on board with the idea that God will forgive me and accept me as a prodigal son as many times as I repent…but the judgment oracles, and ensuing punishments remind us of something that is fundamental for us to know and learn: there are consequences for sin

While our eternal life is assured through faith in Christ, that doesn’t mean that we escape the aftermath of our wrong-doing. As a people of faith, we must be ready to accept changes to our relationships when sin causes hurt and dysfunction. We can of course seek forgiveness and reconciliation with those we have wronged….but it won’t always have the outcome we desire.

Sin is a very real force in our world, and one that we must be constantly aware of….heeding with humility the warning of St. Paul not to judge the actions of others. +

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