“look after orphans and widows in their distress” James 1:27
When I think of the word orphans I think of Annie. A bunch of precious little girls, without moms and dads, living in big huge rooms, with a mean orphan-mommy. I even think of Peter Pan–a bunch of wild boys, living how they want, fighting pirates and playing with indians. And then there is the orphans of Africa depicted in heart-wrenching commercials–protruding stomachs, flies hovering around their heads.
There are some realities in these types of orphans, but what about those orphans who actually live in families? Who have a mom or a dad–or both? Could a child who lives in a famliy be orphaned? I would argue yes.
The official Webster definition of orphan is this:
1. a child deprived by death of one or usually both parents
2. a young animal that has lost its mother
3. one deprived of some protection or advantage
Most kids fall under one of these three categories, even those children in families. Of course not all of them do–there are those elite who have involved biological parents who both live in their home and are married. This is the family that God designed–most kids, though, aren’t as privileged.
Most kids have divorced parents –and are deprived by one, if not both parents because of the circumstances.
Most kids are small and innocent, losing their mothers to relationship addictions, or busyness, or working. (now, don’t stone me–I’m a working mother–and once was a single, working mother–I’m just saying, there are those moms who put their careers before their children)
Most kids are deprived of the protection of a safe home, a safe family–or the advantage of having an involved father, or a mom who goes to soccer games. Most kids, on some level are orphaned. Too many to count, to even wrap your mind around. If you look at every child as orphaned in some way, you will begin to treat them differently, you will begin to tolerate certain things about them–and love them in a way you never have before. To be orphaned, normally, is to be victimized. A child doesn’t ask for his parents to divorce, or for his father to disappear or for his mother to spend another night of the week dating different random guy. A child doesn’t ask to live in fear, or be disadvantaged in any way shape or form. Yet we punish them as if they deserve to be treated in the manner in which I see them treated weekly.
It will take an entire church body (not a building, but THE church of God) to love and care for the orphans who attend our ministry weekly, who live next door, who go to school with your kids. It is all of our responsibility–God says so.