James 1:27

Dr. Russell Moore writes:

I will never forget seeing her pull the measuring tape out of her purse as she talked about the skull of her child.

The woman, standing in an airport in Russia with my wife and me, was, like us, an American. She, like us, was in the former Soviet Union to pursue adoption. But she was worried. She had heard “horror stories” about fetal alcohol syndrome and various other nightmares. She said that the measuring tape was for gauging the size of the craniums of her potential children, to “make sure there’s nothing wrong with them.”

The reason I think about this conversation so much these days is because I am finding—more and more often—that one of the primary obstacles for Christians in advocating for the fatherless can be summed up right there in that measuring tape: the issue of fear. As much as we might not want to admit it, many of us don’t think much about orphans because, frankly, we’re scared of them.

As one whose heart breaks for the Fatherless I think about this issue a lot. Probably because I struggle with similar fears. What if they have been abused? What if they perpetuate that abuse cycle and sin against someone in MY home? What if they reject me and all I have done to embrace the heritage and family that abandoned them? What if? What if? What if? The list can go on forever and it can be truly paralyzing. They are real concerns but the true tragedy is our fear of them leads us to reject the clear COMMAND of our Lord (James 1:27).

Do we really think that the orphans of the 1st century were any less traumatized or victimized than children today? Do we really think that the hurts and difficulty, challenges and fears of orphans have changed much? If we do we are naive and do not know history.

God has been clear through the ages that His people are supposed to be different, they are not supposed to look like everyone else. One of the ways we are to be different is that we are to care for, protect and welcome the widow, orphan and the stranger. (James 1:27; Isa 1:17; Job 31:16-18; Ex 22:22; Deut 10:17-19; Deut 24:17; Deut 27:19; Ps 68:5; Jer 7:6, 22:3;  Mal 3:5; et al)

I am looking forward to the day when we can finish jumping through Caesar’s hoops so we can follow the heart of our God and care for the least of these – in spite of the fear and worry. Obedience to His command is worth it.

By the way – you should really read the rest of Dr. Moore’s article.

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