There were several comments from my last post that were put off by the first sentence, “If you’re not a Christian, this post is not for you.” Even under the fire of those who choose to call that sentence un-Christian, I’m not retracting it. I’ve thought about it a lot. I meant it. And I still mean it.
I am not speaking to the world at large. I am speaking to those who call themselves Christians. To those who follow the teaching of the Bible. Those who follow after Christ. And of those Christians, I’m specifically speaking to those who have been called to care for the orphan. Although I personally believe that all Christians fall under this category – the Bible makes it clear.
“Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Fight for the rights of widows.” ~ Isaiah 1:17
I’m not talking to Buddhists. Or Muslims. Or Atheists. Because I’m talking to Christians.
Why? Because I can only talk about what I know. And where I’ve been. And what I’ve experienced personally. And I can only assume to speak to those with whom I share a common worldview, and a common purpose in life: to glorify Jesus.
I know our family isn’t the only Christian family He has called to adopt. We’re don’t possess some special dose of faith. Or an extra measure of patience or goodness or endurance. We’re just regular people, called by an extraordinary Jesus.
Another reason I am specifically not speaking to non-Christians is that I can not personally recommend adoption for those who are not called. Undoubtedly, there are many wonderful adoptive parents out there who are not Christian. There are quite a few that I know personally. But I was making a general statement on my personal, yet very public blog… I have no idea who the audience might be on any given day. I wouldn’t walk into WalMart and tell everyone in the store they needed to adopt a child. That would be ludicrous. Why? Because chances are, they’re not up to the task. And that’s no good for the parent and certainly no good for the child.
But if I were standing in a room filled with Christians whose hearts had been pricked for the orphan, you can bet I’d tell them to get moving! Start obeying the call! Go help care for the orphan! Why? How can I be so bold? Because I know that those that Jesus has called, He will equip.
A quote I love and often cling to is, “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” So true.
The other issue that was raised by “Anonymous” referred to Christianity. Here is the portion of her comment that I really did not understand. And that got me thinking….
**”Your very first sentence in this post is so very un-Christian. Do you mean to suggest that a Muslim could not feel strongly towards orphaned children? A Jew? A Buddhist? An Atheist? A member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? In nearly all of the religions I mentioned above, and those I neglected to mention, the core of beliefs encourage, no demands!”**
If that first sentence is ‘so very un-Christian’, I’m curious… what would be the ‘Christian’ thing to say? Kum ba ya?
The ‘world’ has watered down the real Jesus into an “I’m okay, you’re okay” kind of a guy. Or as Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church says, “a soft-spoken, effeminate, marginalized, Galilean hippie-peasant in a dress…”
He most definitely is not that.
Judge of the Living and the Dead. Acts 10:42
Head of all Principality and Power. Colossians 2:9-10
Author of Eternal Salvation. Hebrews 5:8-10
He came for the sinner, the broken, the battle-scarred. And He came to set the ‘captives’ free, all of us. Because He loves us.
But because He loves us doesn’t mean He has no expectations of us.
“That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” ~ Luke 12:47-48
It is because He loves us, that He has expectations of us.
And rightfully so.
The definition for ‘demand’:
1. to ask for with proper authority; claim as a right.
2. to ask for peremptorily or urgently.
3. to call for or require as just, proper, or necessary.
A synonym for demand is command.
“Those who obey my commandments are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them, and I will love them. And I will reveal myself to each one of them.“ ~ John 14:21
Of course, we all have free will to obey or not. God’s great act of love for us gives us the freedom to turn away from Him. Or turn toward Him. Many of us choose not to obey, but Jesus makes it clear what He expects of us. Other times we will try but fall short, I know I do on a daily basis. He is the only One who lived a blameless life. But we are expected to strive toward the goal of being more like Him.
Thankfully, He accepts us in our shortcomings and loves us in our failures, even in our broken undeserving state. And it is out of this indebtedness and gratitude for His grace and mercy that our desire to obey grows.
When Jesus ‘demands’ things of us, it is not in a forceful, gruff and unloving way. He demands things of us in the way that a loving mother implores her child not run into the street after a play toy. Or a father pleads with his child to come home after a long absence. His demands of us are for our own good. To bring us closer to Him and help us reflect His glory more and more.
Many of these demands, or ‘commands’ are found in the New Testament. These commands are all rooted in a single foundation – love. Because He first loved us, we are able to love. Because we love Him, we are able to extend His love to others.
To be honest, I am truly grateful for this ‘discussion’. When I posted this yesterday, it was just something on my heart, and I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to nudge someone who might be wavering or questioning. I had no intention of stirring up a heated debate. And all the reading, thinking and praying I’ve done since then has helped me clarify (at least a bit more) where our family stands on adoption.
And more importantly, Jesus.
“But make sure in your hearts that Christ is Lord. Always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you about the hope you have. Be ready to give the reason for it. But do it gently and with respect.” ~ 1Peter 3:15