Today’s Bible readings can be found at this link: Ecclesiastes 1:1-9 and John 16:16-33.

Ecclesiastes 1:2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” (NIV)

These are times that try the souls of men and roast the hearts of women. These are sadly days of despondency and desperation where human life in all its forms is cheap, where human beings are callously chained to poverty, and woman-beings are severely punished for the sins of brutal men. The old Biblical cry of “Meaningless!” is partnered with a shout of “Powerless!”, along with a scream of “Helpless!” by those whose pleading voices are silenced by strong demands and uncaring words. Common sense is obliterated and the community is deliberately divided by those who want to keep control and seek retribution.

We are in the midst of a moral civil war which was once prophesied by the Good Shepherd of our souls. Mother against daughter, father against son, brothers and sisters against one another. But, instead of seeking the Prince of Peace to allow His compassion to make every life meaningful, instead of looking to the Lord of Light to eliminate the darkness of our hearts, we let the thorns of unbounded pride and self-righteous spears pierce the lives of those who plead for help, support, and understanding.

These trying times demand of us a serious self-reflection and honest introspection of our deepest motives. If we truly recognize and become plainly aware that we are not without sin, then surely, we of all people will stop throwing stones to destroy others, or penalize the powerless because they do not meet our moral expectations. After all, if God treated us the same way we treat and condemn others, none of us would survive and every part of our faith would be meaningless.

I wrote this devotion for me, as a challenging and necessary reminder that I am a terrible sinner in need of a gracious Savior. Every. Single. Day.

Questions to ponderWhat sins do I secretly embrace that condemn me by God? Why does Christ allow me His grace? How should I faithfully apply that grace to others?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, none of us are perfect, nor are we better than anyone else in Your eyes. Humble our pride and help us to show Christian love and compassion to those who are outcast and defenseless, weak and powerless. In Your Holy Name, we despicable sinners humbly pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Come along and join us for worship on Sundays at 11:00 AM. You will be made very welcome 😊

Today’s image is one of my Good Friday drawings called ‘Forgive Them.’ If you would like to view a larger version, click here.