Friday, September 7, 2007

Papier-mâché Peace

“For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” (Jer.6:14)

Papier-mâché (pronounced, “paper ma-shay”) is not seen much anymore. Or at least I don’t see it. It is made of either paper pulp or sheets of paper glued together and is shaped into boxes, jars, or fancy articles often used for decoration. They are never meant to last. The word has come to also describe “something easily destroyed or discredited; false or illusory,” to give the dictionary meaning. The prophet Jeremiah spoke in his book of people who offered this kind of peace—easily discredited and completely illusory—and of those who were eventually disillusioned by it.

In the first place, as wonderful as peace is, I think we sometimes overrate its importance. I tend to agree with Matthew Henry (1662-1714) who wrote, “Peace is such a precious jewel that I would give anything for it but truth.” The doctor who assures me I am healthy when I actually have a cancer growing inside me may give me peace of mind, but it comes at a dear price. The oppressive regime of Saddam Hussein was far more peaceful than what they are now experiencing, because any dissent was brutally silenced. Probably the most ferocious, conquering religion down through history to the present day, is referred to as a “religion of peace.” As I say, “peace” is a very ambiguous word, nothing to hang your life or your soul on.

The God of the Bible offers true peace one way alone: through a Person. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom.5:1). Any other brand of “peace,” whether you get it from a pill, a bottle, a book, or a religious huckster, is just the papier-mâché kind. It may do for a while to decorate your life, but it was never meant to last. I’m thankful my peace is secured by a three-fold cord:

God the Father—the “God of peace” Heb.13:20
God the Son—the “Prince of peace” (Isa.9:6)
God the Holy Spirit—the "Spirit…of peace” (Eph.4:3)

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