But here's the deal: Everyone loves orphans. The truth is, it's easyto love orphans. They are innocent, hurt, and poor in the most basic sense of the word because they lack the most important resource on this earth: family.
So when I see pictures like this one:From the twins' orphanage.
And this one:
Also from the orphanage. She weighed 22 pounds at 5 years old. More here.
And this one:
And this one:
(Shall I go on, or do you get the idea?)
And when I read things like this (from Dr. Russell Moore, whom you can read more of here):
WHEREAS, in the gospel we have received the “Spirit of adoption” whereby we are no longer spiritual orphans but are now beloved children of God and joint heirs with Christ
(John 14:18; Rom. 8:12-25; Gal. 3:27-4:9; Eph. 1:5); and
WHEREAS, the God we now know as our Father reveals himself as a “father of the fatherless” (Ps. 68:5) who grants mercy to orphans (Deut. 10:18; Hos. 14:3); and
WHEREAS, our Lord Jesus welcomes the little ones (Luke 18:15-17), pleads for the lives of the innocent (Ps. 72:12-14), and shows us that we will be held accountable for our response to “the least of these my brethren” (Matt. 25:40); and
WHEREAS, the Scripture defines “pure and undefiled religion” as “to visit orphans and widows in their trouble” (Jas. 1:27)
It' is a no-brainer: We MUST love orphans. We must care for orphans, provide for orphans and fight for orphans.
So I do, while at the same time wondering how some people cannot be more concerned about the orphan and moved to action by the crazy, spot-on picture of our own plight as Spiritual orphans.
And some people really think I'm cool for that. I mean, people tell me often that they admire my passion for orphans and adoption.
But it's easy loving orphans. Everyone can do that.
You know what's not easy? Loving the people I know.
Loving the students I have in class who are punks (Yes, punks...because there are some of those, and there's no way around it). They might lack family just as much as any orphan in Africa but--because I choose to be blind to some of their home issues--I sometimes have a hard time loving that student.
You know what else is hard? Loving my husband the right way: Not resenting him for failing to pick up his dirty clothes; conveying my respect for him; communicating with him; honoring him with my words.
And something else that's hard: Letting go.
Letting go of my expectations of a clean house and perfect, angelic children who "use their words" and speak kindly to one another; remembering that a two-year-old (even a mature two-year-old) has meltdowns occasionally; understanding that an 18-month-old might be whiny because he's teething; seeing that either one of them might need some extra snuggle time just because.
That's hard stuff, and it's daily, seemingly little stuff. We orphan-lovers talk a lot about God's words regarding orphan care, adoption and redemption, but we sometimes ignore the other obvious praiseworthy traits, even commands, laid out in the Bible.
And another big one we ignore: GRACE. It's easy to speak of, but hard to live out.
So here's the question for me, and for you: Am I living out Christ's love to all of the people in my life, not just the orphans?
No, I'm not. I fail in many areas while focusing on one. So while people might praise my efforts in the orphan and adoption world, others who know me in real life see clearly that I have plenty of areas to improve.
Here's to more grace in 2014. I think we all could use it.
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