We have been withholding justice from the orphan
Johnny Carr, national director of church partnerships for Bethany Christian Services, has written Orphan Justice, a challenging new book about the profound need — and biblical mandate — to care for orphans. Multiply Justice offers you an excerpt of Mr. Carr’s powerful first chapter: True Religion. What’s below is just a taste. You can read the excerpted chapter by clicking here.
Just like the children of Israel, we, as God’s people, will be judged for withholding justice from the oppressed and the orphan. If we have the means and the capability to care for orphaned and vulnerable children, yet fail to do so, we are in direct disobedience to God.
… Developing a holistic model for orphan care forces us to dive into every aspect of an orphan’s struggle, even when it’s uncomfortable. The fact is that very few orphans around the world have only to deal with the emotional consequences of losing one or both parents. In addition, nearly all of these children are faced with the nightmare of poverty, human trafficking, HIV/AIDS, deplorable orphanages, abusive foster care situations, racism, and a host of other social evils. In the twenty-first-century American church, we have wrongly dismissed many of these issues, and for that we need to repent. On other fronts we have been silent, and we must now become a voice.
… Formulating a practical, biblical strategy for global orphan care forces us to confront and wrestle with these challenges that we have not taken as seriously as we should have. If we were honest, many of us would have to admit that we have no clue how to respond, beyond well-meaning prayer or writing a check. We have relegated these social justice issues to the secular world, but if we truly desire to care for orphans, we must be willing to address and respond to their deepest needs.
We can’t care about orphans without caring about their daily reality of poverty, HIV/AIDS, trafficking, and other horrors. We can’t honestly be satisfied with children living out their entire childhoods in orphanages that our churches have built and then being cast into what is often an even more terrifying reality on the streets when they turn eighteen. As we grapple with the complex situations of orphaned and vulnerable children, we will see that if we reduce the number of orphans in the world by placing them in families, it could dramatically affect the number of HIV/AIDS cases, the number of children trafficked, and the number of children living in poverty.
As an interest in orphan care and adoption ministry begins to sweep through the American church culture, we can’t just treat it like a one-week summer VBS. We need “Orphan-focused Sundays,” but we also need far more—we need orphan-focused churches. Choosing to stand by and do nothing where we see injustice, suffering, and evil is wrong. It is sin. We must take active steps to care for orphans. To do anything less is blatant disobedience.
You can read the excerpted chapter by clicking here.