“God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector.” (Luke 18:11, NIV)
When the full impact of the potato blight struck Ireland, the general public opinion in Britain was that the Irish brought this disaster upon themselves. Even though Ireland was, by this time, officially part of the United Kingdom, they certainly were not being treated as equals.
There was only one crop that completely failed in Ireland, and that was the one crop they were allowed to keep for themselves: Potatoes. All other crops flourished, and these would have been more than enough to feed the Irish had it not all gone to Great Britain. In 1847, 500,000 Irish, young and old alike, died of starvation. Cholera, dysentery, high deadly fevers, scurvy and typhus rampaged through the Irish population, killing so many people that it wasn’t even possible to keep proper records of all the deaths, and there weren’t even enough coffins for the burials. As a result, reusable drop coffins became the norm. These contained a trap door at the bottom. They were used to drop a body in its grave, then they were returned to pick up another body!
Meanwhile, 4,000 ships loaded with 17,000,000 pounds of Ireland-produced foods, 10,000 heads of cattle and 4,000 horses and ponies headed for Great Britain and the British enjoyed fine meal and good health.
Such an attitude can be seen in certain denominations and churches. “Praise God that I am nothing like the scum of the earth. I hold the truth! Anything else does not matter!” They are proud of having “the” truth, but unfortunately, their “truth” consists of doctrine. Even though they profess to follow Jesus, their doctrine is put above all else, and these children of God don’t even realize that only Jesus can claim to be Truth: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, NIV)
What happens when such superiority rampages through a church? It gives the congregation a false sense of security, while many of their members starve for spiritual food and are left wanting.
When a question is asked to one of these “bright” people, they always know “the” answer, a canned answer, as doctrines are reinforced in church on a weekly basis, so much so that the entire Bible is seen through the looking glass of these doctrines and everything else is considered heresy. Those erring from these doctrines are heading straight for hell.
If you find yourself in such a situation, ask yourself: where is God’s compassion in all of these? Where is the love that should be at the core of any follower of Christ?
May I remind who goes home justified:
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:13-14, NIV)
Are you spiritually hungry? Come directly to Jesus. Only He can truly feed you: “He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.” (Luke 1:53, NIV) After all, it’s not about us, but about Jesus!
“Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says.” (John 7:38, MSG)
(To access the entire “Radioactive Religion” devotional series, please click here.)