The 100,000 welcomes which Ireland is so famous for has suffered some reductions to its number in recent days! It was brought to light when an elderly American tourist was randomly beaten up in Dublin city centre, receiving some life changing injuries.
This was followed by three teenage boys being hospitalised after an incident in Dublin’s Temple Bar area. They had come from the UK to support their football team who were here to play a friendly match. It seems the match lived up to its name but the ‘afters’ less so!
In both incidents the culprits were youths who were duly charged with the offences. The difficulties of policing these crimes is exacerbated by the low numbers of Garda on the beat. In addition, there has been an increase in the availability of drugs such as heroin and cocaine.
The attraction of crime is not limited to youth. We had a computer clinch in the Bank of Ireland’s cash dispensers which enabled the withdrawal of €1,000 irrespective of how much money was in the account! Thanks to the smartphone many were alerted as friends told each other where to obtain ‘free’ cash. The Garda were required to control the crowds!
These were bank customers, wielding their bank cards to withdraw the maximum from the system. Doubtless they had a background in fiddling their income tax and inflating their insurance claims. This was just the latest opportunity to come their way!
Where is moral rectitude to be found? Many pursue it by way of self-reformation but it seldom lasts long. It requires the total transformation that coming to faith in Jesus Christ brings. It is a new relationship, entered into by a prayer of confession of sin and a genuine repentance, into a new life.
St Paul puts it well in Ephesians 4 verses 28 to 32: “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
The Apostle made it plain to these new converts at Ephesus that life must match lip. It is the same today. The 100,000 welcomes will then be a reality.