Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Post That May Step on Toes

Can I share my opinion with you?  I mean, my honest opinion? 

Church, I think we've dropped the ball.

It seems like we're so used to thinking that if we agree with scripture, we're actually obeying it, but that's just not the truth.  James 1:22 says, "But be doers of the word, and not only hearers of it, blinding yourselves with false ideas" (Basic English Translation).  You can agree with something wholeheartedly and say "amen" to all the sermons you want, but if you're not actually doing it, you're living in disobedience.  Did you ever think of it that way?

We in the church are so busy pointing fingers at people for the things they do that we don't agree with, but we rarely help them or give them better options.  We just make them feel bad, or oftentimes just make them want to do exactly what we say they shouldn't just because it will get up our nose.  I can't tell you how many blog posts I saw about the evils of "Fifty Shades," yet all of the hoopla made those who wanted to see it anyway more vehement about seeing it and gave them even more fuel against the hypocrites in the church. 

So, what do I think we've dropped the ball about specifically for the purposes of this post?  Life.

We went and saw the movie "The Dropbox" last night.  It was amazing.  The movie does a really good job of showing all sides of the issue of child abandonment.  Never are the birth mothers villanized in this documentary, and rightly so.  Pastor Lee, the Korean pastor that made the dropbox in his home/church, has as much compassion for these girls as he does their babies.  And the movie does a good job to point out that child abandonment isn't just a Korean's a huge problem worldwide.

Many in the church would categorize themselves as pro-life.  Many participate in pro-life walks, protests, marches, campaigns, etc., and do their best to try and prevent abortion.  That's all well and good, but what happens to the girl who you convince NOT to have an abortion, and the baby she carries that she may not be able to take care of?  This is where I think we've dropped the ball. 

James 1:27 says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (NIV).  Do we just agree with that, or are we actually obeying?

Too many in the church are willing to speak up for life, but not willing to take up the yoke to take care of that life.  I know there are some programs to help with those things, but not near enough.  How many churches rally around the unwed mothers in their midst?  Or, are there any actually there because the church has made them feel like an outcast because of a decision they made in the heat of the moment and they don't feel welcome in church?  And the babies?  While I know a few families who foster or adopt, the key word there is "few." The need for homes for these children is overwhelming and too few people are willing to help.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying that everybody should be fostering or adopting.  It is totally not for everyone.  It is hard.  These kids come from very hard places and will carry some of this hurt and trauma in their hearts for most of their lives.  Because of that, even in the best of circumstances, these kids have issues that will come out in one way or another...maybe reactive-attachment issues, low self-worth, acting-out behavior, etc.  That beautiful family you see in church with foster or adopted children, they're dealing with stuff whether you can see it or not.  These families are constantly throwing themselves on God's grace because they can't do this on their own.  Their kids need healing.  They need healing.  It is not easy.

What I'm saying is that the church as a whole needs to step up our game.  We need to work more at being Jesus's hands and feet to help people rather than point fingers and tell people what they ought not to be doing.  We need to love people and stand in the gap for them.  We need to be willing to do the hard things, the uncomfortable things, the things that we really honestly might not want to do.  Why?  Because Jesus certainly didn't take the easy way out and we're His Bride, His representatives here in the world.

So what does that look like?  Maybe some of you are meant to rally around the girls who find themselves in a situation they never meant to be in.  These girls are scared and most likely don't have the resources to be able to take care of a baby.  Maybe you could help them by providing child care for their baby while they work, help teach them how to be a parent, help with buying baby items, etc.  Become a surrogate family to her and her baby and invest in them.

Maybe some of you are called to foster or adopt children that have been given up and have been giving God excuses as to why you can't.  Seriously, excuses don't fly.  I can't tell you how many times people have said to us, "Oh, we would love to adopt, but we can't afford it."  Wrong answer!  If you are called to adopt, God will provide.  Almost every adoptive family we know, ourselves included, could never honestly have afforded to adopt if it hadn't been for God bringing funding at just the right times.  It has been terrifying to me each time because we never know where the money is going to come from when we start the process, but we just step out in faith and obedience.  And let me tell you, God is so faithful.  If He calls you to something, He provides for every step of the way.  That doesn't mean it's not a white-knuckle ride, but He's not going to lead you to do His will and then dump you.  That isn't how He operates.

Maybe some of you are called to advocate for these children.  There are so many programs that help children in foster care or orphanages.  Our church sends mission teams not only to affiliate orphanages in Cambodia and Haiti, but also has a large number of people in the church who volunteer for things like the Royal Family Kids Camp, helping kids that are stuck in the system to feel loved and valued.  You could become a court-appointed special advocate, or CASA, to help fight for the rights of children in the system.  You can get involved in any number of helpful programs, spread the word to others of the need to be involved, and pray for God to touch these sweet lives with His love.

Maybe you are a more behind-the-scenes type of person and your gift is giving.  Find a ministry to support financially.  There are so many of them out there that help the fatherless.  Maybe you've been involved in the Samaritan's Purse Christmas Box or SOAR's Stuff-A-Stocking programs around Christmas.  Make it more than just a holiday thing...find something to give to all year round.  Find an orphanage or orphan surgical fund to donate to, especially since there are so many children worldwide with life-threatening medical conditions that need surgery.  Find an adoptive family that needs help with funding to adopt these children.  Chances are, you probably know of at least one that could use the help.  There is really no end to the need, and there is no better thing to invest your money into than the life of a child.

Anyway, for what it's worth, that's my 2 cents.  We as believers are definitely made to love, so it's about time we show the world what that means practically.  Seriously, what would the world look like if Christians stopped being indignant and started being involved. Hearts and lives aren't changed because of protests or arguments;  they're changed because of love.