It has always perplexed me when I hear of the political stances of many of God’s people. We certainly get bent out of shape when we feel our rights are violated in some fashion. I have seen Christians speak out boldly about their rights to own a gun and shoot any invader in their home. I have seen them speak more boldly about this right than I have seen them speak about their Lord and Savior. And in recent weeks we have seen a plethora of illegal immigrants pouring across our borders. Things have gotten so bad that our president has made some decisions (which violate the constitution) in hopes of being able to address this growing problem. Something he said the other day certainly caught my ear. It is our duty to help these children who have come over the border illegally without parents or legal guardians. In the days that followed this statement I have heard conservative talk show hosts, who proclaim religious freedoms and claim to be God fearing proclaim that we have no obligation whatsoever to these children. This got me thinking. How can a Christian say we have no responsibilities to these children whose parents have abandoned them?
40-50 years ago similar arguments were made in the church. The end result was a split in the churches of Christ. Some proclaimed that it was the church’s duty to help the orphans in their communities, in America, or in other countries. When others proclaimed in wasn’t the church’s duty many harsh words were used to slander what were deemed as “antis.” I recall talking to one brother in Christ that told a story of a local split. In that split a newspaper article was released by an institutional church that explained why the church split. It slandered the “antis” in very ungodly ways. They even stated that if your child was stuck in a burning car they wouldn’t let you use their telephone to call 911. And how if a baby showed up on the church’s doorstep they would just shut the door. The term “anti” was not just anti-orphan home, anti-missionary society, or anti-college. They stated “antis” were anti-compassion.
When I hear Christians boldly proclaim that these children should be “sent back where they came from” I began to wonder where is the compassion? Sure, some of them may have a home to go to. Sure, something has to be done to discourage parents from just abandoning their children. But, is it the child’s fault? When that young child was found dead in the desert my heart wept. What did he do to deserve to die that way? Why did his parents think it was okay to put their own child at such a risk? Was it really worth it?
Think about it like this. If your neighbor disappeared one day leaving their three kids behind what would you do? Would you refuse to help in fear of encouraging other parents of abandoning their children? Would you proclaim that it isn’t our duty to help such children, their parents need to do something about it? ? Would you turn a blind eye? Would you say they’ll be fine on their own? Would you say it is the governments’ job to deal with such things and wait for the government to do something?
What does the scriptures say we ought to be doing? James 1:27 says, “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” The word visit here implies more than just stopping by and saying hi. According to strong’s it means to inspect or relieve. We are to see what ails them and do what we can to help. That is what compassion is. If we saw those children sitting there alone we ought to be the first in the neighborhood to offer our assistance. Sure, we ought to try to reach their parents or some other relative so that those kids could be with family. But what if they can’t? Are we just to cast them off so that they can be some other person’s problem (isn’t that what their parents did in the first place)? No, I think it is a Christian’s duty to help. Provide food. Provide shelter. Provide love. It is not the government’s job. It is not the church’s job. It is my job. -WTK
Grinnell church of Christ
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Volume 5 Issue 31