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Sunday, December 07, 2014

“It’s All Under Control …”

“Nothing happening here. You can move along any time now ...”
How many times have you heard that line?

If someone doesn’t come right out and say it (or something quite like it), a distraction is served up in the timeliest possible fashion. Remember Bill Clinton’s famous four-day bombing of Iraq just as the House of Representatives commenced his own impeachment hearing?

Or the problem may magically just go away, as in the disappearance from the news for the last month or so of anything whatsoever to do with the Ebola virus, when well over 1,000 Americans are now potentially infected.

Or some red herring may be waved to mask the real issue, as reliably transpires each time another Islamist murders an innocent. We are quickly reminded that “Islam is a religion of peace”, with the obvious implication that the average citizen ought to be more concerned about rampaging mobs of his neighbours spray-painting mosques than about extremists killing unarmed soldiers in public. To date, no significant backlash against Muslims has actually occurred, but such distractions are evidently thought to defuse public indignation.

Whatever the specific mechanism, we are constantly being told to cool our jets, that all is well, when the evidence of our eyes is often very much to the contrary.

This is not a new phenomenon. In fact, it is remarkable how many times the Old Testament prophets warn us about this aspect of human nature. You know, the one where it goes into complete denial. Jeremiah twice says:
“They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.”
and Ezekiel adds:
“My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations … Precisely because they have misled my people, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace …”
“All’s well,” the false prophets in government and the media tell us. “Everything’s under control”.

But the problem with healing wounds “lightly” is that the physician has professed to do his job when he has entirely failed to address the root problem, leaving it to fester and poison both society and the lives of affected individuals.

It’s like plastering a Band-Aid over a melanoma.

The theoretical upside of misleading the public is that it keeps the citizenry from pushing you to address problems that are, at least by way of human ingenuity, deeply perplexing or even insoluble. People are rarely inclined to take to the streets in protest when they have nothing about which to be angry.

But the downside is that a misled people cannot turn to God for help, which is exactly what desperately needs to happen, whether it is in rejection of personal or corporate sin, or simply turning in prayer to the only one capable of dealing with evil on such a scale.

Paul tells us there will be a similar disinformation campaign underway just prior to the arrival of the Day of the Lord, with all its attendant judgment and destruction:
“While people are saying, ‘There is peace and security,’ then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.”
“Move along, folks, nothing to see here,” does not cut it. It never has.

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