No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the LORD,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:34)
What a timely text! As the elections have now concluded and the questions about “What now?” set in for people on both sides of the outcome, Jeremiah’s words come at an opportune time for us. Much of the election rhetoric has been in the tone, “If you knew what I know, you’d think like I think!” Many of us have wanted to “teach the other side a lesson.” Christians were divided by camps. Progressive Christians tended to vote one way. Evangelical Christians voted the other. Many mainliners were more split. All claim to follow the same Jesus but somehow both sides seem to only see part of him. Blinders are as prevalent as sight itself. Often the rhetoric between Christian camps was, “That’s not my Jesus!” It was its own form of us feeling the need to teach each other and finding ways to “know the Lord” to chastise people who had somehow become our enemies – while still being sisters and brothers in Christ in the eyes of God.
The text above tells us why. People are filled with iniquity. The reality of sin has loomed large in the election rhetoric. Often we have been super-aware of the sin of the other side and blind to our own. Jesus talks about this as noting the “speck in our neighbors eye while ignoring the plank in our own.” While discernment is crucial, often judgment has been thrown around by people who are urged not to be judge. Forgiveness and healing seem hard and distant.
Ultimately, this verse reminds us that it is God’s power to transform and forgive all of us from the inside (changing our hearts) that gives us hope. The recent election should remind all of us that we still need that. Perhaps that will be enough to help all of us become more like the people God hopes and promises we will be.