I read this article by Albert Mohler and was really intrigued. It wasn't so much Glenn Beck or his inflammatory statements I found interesting. Instead, I saw Mohler expressing a concern which I have been wrestling with lately myself.
It was this statement of his which caught my eye:
"The last century has seen many churches and denominations embrace the social gospel in some form, trading the Gospel of Christ for a liberal vision of social change, revolution, economic liberation, and, yes, social justice. Liberal Protestantism has largely embraced this agenda as its central message."
"The urgency for any faithful Christian is this -- flee any church that for any reason or in any form has abandoned the Gospel of Christ for any other gospel."
There are many people being turned on to the idea of adoption, and I couldn't be happier; but my heart wants to know that the messages they are hearing about what adoption is all about is built on a solid foundation. I want people to understand clearly Who our deeds are pointing to and why we should be doing them.
I have lately been concerned at the recruiting tactics taken by some adoptive families and those who would seek to be "orphan advocates." Sometimes when I listen closely to what people are saying, I walk away with more questions than answers. Usually I find myself asking one thing: "What's the point?" Or, more specifically, "WHO is your point?"
Oh there is no shortage of causes. All of them good. Disasters in other countries, food for the hungry, books for underprivileged students, homes for orphans. There's hardly a Christian I know who isn't involved in some sort of campaign for social change. (I don't say that to be mocking at all. I count myself among them)
But could something be twisting and warping within us? Are we leaving something behind?
We were commanded to make disciples of Jesus NOT disciples of this cause or that cause.
A wise friend once counseled me that when we seek to bring comfort to those in need, whether they be starving from hunger, sleeping in the dirt, or widows and orphans without someone to comfort them, everything we do MUST point back to Jesus. The Lord Jesus should be the purpose behind our motives and our actions. It should be His glory that motivates us.
I am afraid that Christians in the adoption/orphan care community are in danger of falling into a snare.
There is so much to labor over. There is no shortage of work for hands willing to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, and hold orphaned children. Many people who have sold out to the cause struggle and fight against the apathy others. Many weep bitter tears of loneliness wondering where the workers are.
I understand that.
But sometimes all this work leads to a tendency to kick things into overdrive. Once we're operating in autopilot it's easy to become resentful. With resentment the door to our heart is easily opened at the knock of our inner Martha and her prideful spirit. Once we give way to that prideful striving spirit, all of a sudden it's easier to fall into other traps laid by pride- that artful and crafty foe of ours.
What was that about our left and right hand? How would that apply to someone who has attached their name to this or that cause? (no matter how small or how large it may be) Especially when there is so much public awareness to raise, so many people to see what is being done so they can join in. (That IS the motive behind what we're doing.... right?) How difficult does it become to separate what is truly fruitful from what if fluff; what is honoring from what is idolatrous?
If we aren't tripped up by the above, there is never a shortage of food for our pride's hunger.
What about those people who are in the position of need?
Oh they will be ever so grateful. They will love us and bless us. They might think we're really something. And if everyone else believes we're really something maybe we can begin to believe it too? How very minute is the line between acts done in humility and those with ulterior motives. While the two may be worlds apart, I have found that it's far too easy to cross over from the side on humity to the side of vainglory.
God forbid we, the Church, forget to point people to our purpose for being here.
It is so very easy to become self righteous and proud, or to fall into traps of legalism and the sinful curse of "doing". It has been my personal experience that motives are too easily warped.
I don't know about you, but I don't trust myself to get it right. I really need the Lord to guide me. ALWAYS.
The only way we can ever hope to be made holy in this regard is to be in continual prayer.
The Church must avoid, at all costs, striving for something that is altogether apart from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is vital we all pray long and hard over what message it is that we are preaching as we seek to advocate for adoptions, orphan care, or anything else for that matter; no matter how noble the cause might be.
It's ever so easy to veer to the left or right just a smidge. But, as the saying goes, "Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades."
1 Corinthians 2:2 (NIV)
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.