Hosting Reflection #23–Orphan Care & The Gospel

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For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.
Luke 19:10 (NIV)

The gospel is complex, deep, and beautiful.  Luke 19:10 seems to be the most simple scripture I have found to explain the gospel.  

For the Son of Man… – Jesus Christ, the perfect sacrifice

came… – from heaven to earth, sent by God

to seek… – all are as good as dead thanks to sin, helpless on our own

and save… – our faith and confession is what brings us new life

the lost. – without Christ, we are lost orphans, completely alone

I am no theologian and I could never do the gospel full justice… but when I stumbled upon the following quote I knew that I had to try to scratch the surface for this blog.

The gospel of Jesus Christ means our families and churches ought to be at the forefront of the adoption of orphans close to home and around the world. As we become more attuned to the gospel, we’ll have more of a burden for orphans. As we become more adoption friendly, we’ll be better able to understand the gospel.
-Russell D. Moore in Adopted for Life

Especially in the light of this quote, caring for orphans is the perfect picture of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Orphans are alone, completely on their own, with very little hope.  They cannot save themselves.  They need more. They need us. 

When someone cares for an orphan, they are reflecting the message of the gospel.  They are seeking out those who are lost and alone.  They must put aside selfishness and comfort for the good of the orphan.  And when the orphan comes to accept the love and care that the person offers, they can find hope that they never had before. 

The more we realize what Christ has done for us, the more we should want to follow his example and do the same for others.  And in turn, we see the gospel in a new light. 

Almost a year and a half after our first orphan hosting experience, I am still coming to terms with this reality.  It was difficult to care for our host boy but such a blessing at the same time.  My love for him was so great that I counted it all joy.  How much more did Jesus sacrifice for us and how much greater is his love for us!!!

 

“Would you want this child?”–The unwanted orphan… inside us all

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Imagine for a moment that you’re adopting a child.  As you meet with the social worker in the last stage of the process, you’re told that this twelve-year-old has been in and out of psychotherapy since he was three.  He persists in burning things and attempting repeatedly to skin kittens alive.  He “acts out sexually,” the social worker says, although she doesn’t really fill you in on what that means.  She continues with a little family history.  This boy’s father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather all had histories of violence, ranging from spousal abuse to serial murder.  Each of them ended life the same way, death by suicide – each found hanging from a rope of blankets in his respective prison cell.

Think for a minute.  Would you want this child?  If you did adopt him, would you keep an eye on him as he played with your children?  Would you watch him nervously as he looks at the butcher knife on the kitchen table?  Would you leave the room as he watched a movie on television with your daughter, with the lights out?

Well, he’s you. And he’s me.  That’s what the gospel is telling us.  Our birth father has fangs.  And left to ourselves, we’ll show ourselves to be as serpentine as he is.

[My library of adoption related books has been growing quite a lot lately.  Just yesterday I started listening to this month’s free audiobook download from christianaudio.com – Adopted for Life by Russell D. Moore.  I have only gotten through the first two chapters so far, and it has already been incredibly powerful.]

Read that excerpt once again.  Most people would feel uncomfortable just thinking about a child like the one described.  Most people would think twice before agreeing to adopt that child.  Most people would really take time to accept the risk to bring that child into a home with other vulnerable children.  Most people would be ashamed to consider themselves to have anything in common with that boy… however the reality is, that boy is each and every one of us. 

We come from a sickeningly sinful heritage.  We do not deserve love or to be accepted into a loving family.  And that is what Christ has done for each of us.  Without restraint and without hesitation. 

When we realize the great grace that has been bestowed on us by being accepted by our Heavenly Father, how could we possibly turn a blind eye and withhold that grace from all those orphaned children in need?

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