In which this is one thing that defines pure religion

by Craig on February 22, 2011

Book of James, Bible, Christian, Scripture,

photo credit: Susanna-Cole King

I cannot claim a true faith,

if I don’t have a heart for,

and am not a shield for,

those who are  defenseless.

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27)

First a little bit of Trinity

These words can slip right by without notice. They did at first to me .

“God and the Father”.

One day I’ll write on the Trinity here because that’s precisely the deep stuff I have so much fun digging into. But I’ll just make a quick mention of this now.

The Greek in this verse could be translated either “the God and the Father” or “God and the Father”. Literally in the exact order of the Greek, the words are “the God and Father”.

But

in the Greek the “the” often stretches to both nouns following it if they agree in gender etc. So that’s why it is also translated “the God and the Father” – a hint of Trinity.

Please let me know in the comments if stuff like this:

a) puts you to sleep – or

b) you kinda like.

Now – orphans and widows and true religion…

Orphans and widows – they write about them a lot in the Bible. Times have changed though. First, to be a widow back then was a dangerous thing – today the status of widow, though heartbreaking, is not life threatening. And orphans? Then, it meant a child without a father – not both parents as it does now.

So to take this verse and apply it directly to today – without looking at what it meant then – I think that’s not a good thing.

History flows

and things change

but the principles of God do not.

Back then, both widows and fatherless children had no way to legitimately protect themselves from the vultures of the world who circled. Society made no way for them for them to support themselves. They were prone to exploitation, and violence, and abuse – and they needed protecting.

When I think of a class of humans today,

in America,

who have literally no defense,

no rights,

no power,

and get killed with seemingly no one raising an alarm,

I think of 40 million children,

that don’t get to be born.

I think the principle of this verse applies heavily here.

There is no one more defenseless than an unborn child.

I think there’s something about a defenseless person being abused that really get’s the heart of God.

In the OT it’s God, “who executes justice for the orphan and the widow” (DT 10:18)

and later, in Psalms 68:6, God is called, “Father of the fatherless, defender of widows.”

They had no protection – they needed a champion.

So today this makes me ask, “Is there someone I should be championing, that I am not?”

I think life is all about circles. My mom always said “love begins in the home.”

So the first circle to which I have to apply this question is my immediate family. Being unmarried, for me, this means siblings and Laska the love kitty. Single people have a smaller inner circle.

If I was married then it would be my bride and our children (and spot or puff).

Then the circles continue, other family, friends, church, city. Today they can expand around the world. But I think I have to be careful about stepping over a defenseless person here – before I reach across the globe.

Today, starting with my smaller circles, I’m going to find and champion the cause of someone who is defenseless. I have to have this mindset – or my religion isn’t real.

God Bless

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Dianna McBride February 22, 2011 at 8:20 am

I’m not being put to sleep…I kinda like this stuff!

“or my religion isn’t real”…that’s the real clincher, isn’t it? A while back I started asking God to give me a compassionate heart because I want to reflect His love. He began putting some of the defenseless in my path and I realized just how little compassion I had at first. It’s quite a journey some days, but it is good to know that HE will show Himself strong if my heart is pure in its desire. Thank you so much for this thought provoking post, Craig.

Reply

Craig February 22, 2011 at 8:33 am

Thank you Dianna. I asked a while back for God to help me connect. Then I began connecting with hearts – for a while it absolutely overwhelmed me – and the pain threatened to submerge me – I’m finding balance now. The fact that the God of all things cares enough to take us on “journeys” is astounding. No?

God Bless – and thank you.

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Debra February 22, 2011 at 11:50 pm

Craig, thank you for speaking up for the unborn. How it breaks God’s heart for our society to sit idly by and watch the mass slaughter of these innocents.
But even after birth, children remain defenseless and are at the mercy of secularists for the most part. My heart breaks with Him for these innocents too.

Reply

Craig February 22, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Amen Debra, these children you talk about, they’re defenseless too. But then, I was raised by a secularist, and now that secularist is in heaven, because she accepted the Gospel of Our Lord. And she was “evangelized” by the son she raised. God finds ways.God Bless you – and thank you for reading – and commenting so thoughtfully – and making me think.

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Anonymuss February 23, 2011 at 11:25 am

Craig, I love your last sentence…and so true about beginning here before crossing the seas. I also never knew the definition of orphans…you share such helpful and interesting information with us!

I know a lady who is a director of a Christian pregnancy center. She tells of how the young and not-young mothers-to-be who come in also feel very abandoned (by the church or secular society or their family and friends) and often need as much support and encouragement and help as do the unborn. Both are so often neglected!

Your last sentence…I will adopt that for my todays.

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Craig February 23, 2011 at 11:33 am

Amen A. Those moms need love – as do women who have had abortions – they need love too and we – the church – we need to love them. God Bless.

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Debbie February 25, 2011 at 2:19 am

Thank you so much Craig, for helping us understand better what religion is suppose to look like and do. God is good . . .I don’t get out much, but He has given me someone defenseless to care for, right where I am. God bless you as you care for the defenseless today!

Reply

Craig February 25, 2011 at 8:52 am

Yes, yes he has – and you just stay right there and keep doing what you are doing!!! God bless.

Reply

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