Now that I have seen I am responsible,
Faith without deeds is dead.
—Brooke Fraser “Albertine”
I interrupt my blog posting schedule—and I had a good one today about a hot microphone—for a post about awareness and action.
Many of you probably know about the latest Facebook viral campaign. Last week Facebook friends the world over were changing their profile pictures to that of cartoons, supposedly whatever their favorite was as a kid. I couldn’t think of a favorite, which is probably why I didn’t do it. Vanity Smurf maybe, because at least the picture would still bear my resemblance—the vanity part, I’m not blue.
As you might also know, the campaign fizzled out when rumors spread that pedophiles were behind it, which was later debunked. It really was intended to raise awareness of violence against children, I suppose.
But like anything else, I have to ask: did we do anything besides change our profile pics to Tom or Jerry or Yogi Bear? Did we check out some websites to learn more about child abuse and what we can do to help? Did we at least write a check to a charity that helps victims of domestic violence?
James, one of Jesus’ followers, says that our faith without action is useless. Changing our profile pics to a Care Bear and not caring is a waste.
What We Can Do
Thinking about ways we can get involved, here’s one, though it’s scary, one where we might be forced to act: serve children at our churches. Deplorably, child abuse among church-going fathers is very common. Get to know the kids at church. If you have children, get to know their friends. Someday they might feel so safe with you they’ll confide in you and expect you to help. Serve teenagers. Ask God to give you discernment and talk with them compassionately.
A few years ago we spent about five Saturdays taking foster classes in preparation to receive Gabriel. We learned about and heard from foster children who need caring homes. We talked about fostering when our kids get older. A couple families from our church took the classes and began fostering.
Scripture is very clear that God doesn’t like ceremony, things like burnt offerings and changing profile pics; he prefers that we care for orphans and widows. Would you be willing to take in children who need a safe place to heal? The state foster care system is a bureaucracy and there’s a lot of cumbersome red tape, but if God is impressing on you to get involved, then I encourage you to respond obediently.
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. —James 1:27 NLT
You may have seen those Safe Place signs at hospitals, fire departments, and even at YMCAs. Safe Place sites are locations where people can go when they’re in some type of crisis. I’ve always envisioned the local church being such a Safe Place. And our homes should not only be safe places for our own children but for their friends and perhaps foster children.
I encourage you to follow this link to safeplace.org. I saw this warning when it popped up on the front page and it broke my heart:
There are hurting children and adults in profound danger. Now that we have seen we are responsible.