Recently, I read a book about a religious cult that had hurt a lot of people—ruining them financially, destroying their families, taking away their freedom, and so forth. Why does this kind of thing always seem to happen with religious groups like this?


Down inside, every human being is an empty place—a void in our hearts that only God can fill. The psalmist put it this way: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God” (Psalm 42:1).

People try to satisfy this spiritual hunger in all kinds of ways: money, sex, success, pleasure, relationships, power, social prestige, possessions—the list is almost endless. But unless we turn to God and allow Him to fill our souls, that empty place remains unfilled—and we keep on looking for something to fill it. Like the writer of Ecclesiastes declared before he found God, we are tempted to say, “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 1:2).

What does this have to do with the strange hold cults have on their members? Simply this: One of the ways some people seek to fill the empty place in their souls is with false religion—and when a cult leader persuades them that he has all the answers, they will sacrifice almost anything to follow him.

The tragedy is that they will never find what they are looking for in this way, because only Christ can take away their sins and assure them of eternal life. Don’t be misled by those who falsely claim to have the truth, for only Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).