This is a guest blog post by veteran host mom and Western/Central Great Lakes area Regional Coordinator, Marty Shoup.
You know- they’re here for such a short time… they’re a stranger to you… they don’t speak the language… they’re not “your own” kids… maybe it’s not really worth the effort, how much good can it really do?… you’re pretty busy over Christmas… and they’re damaged goods, right? I mean, if their own parents didn’t want them….
New Horizons is a CHRISTIAN orphan hosting program; non-denominational, but CHRISTIAN nonetheless.
As Christians, we grow in our faith and learn how to live it out by reading God’s word. We model our lives (or try to, anyway) after Jesus’ example. After all, who better to try to emulate than the Son of God?! We use The Bible as our playbook… roadmap… S.O.P… whatever … to tell us how to live.
Because as cool as Google Maps is… it’s just not going to help in matters of spiritual guidance. (Well, unless you need directions to a church…)
So what does the Bible say about love?
A lot– as you might imagine.
What does love have to do with hosting an orphan?
I’m SO GLAD you asked!!
Jesus tells us in John 13:34-35- “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so must you love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
As Christians we are CALLED to love. We are called to love as Jesus loved. Better yet, when we love others we will be RECOGNIZED as one of His.
We also know from Romans 5:5 that: And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit,who has been given to us.
And 1 John 4:7: Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.
As Christians, we have been given the CAPABILITY to love. Not because we’re just awesome like that, but because it comes from the Almighty.
In particular, we are to love STRANGERS and THE OPPRESSED.
Hebrews 13:1-3- Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
Generally, we tend to dole out our love only to those we deem worthy. Our love is available only to “qualified applicants.” It’s just easier than way.
But thats not what Jesus did. He loved everyone… including those the rest of the world saw as undesirable…. unworthy…. undeserving.
The truth is, loving STRANGERS will stretch you and shove you way out of your comfort zone-and we don’t usually like that. But the thing is, once you start showing love intentionally to someone… they’re not really a stranger anymore, are they?
It’s human nature to shy away from things that make us uncomfortable.
One of the ways we deal with that discomfort it to overlook or ignore the object of our affliction.
We overlook the orphan crisis in Eastern Europe (and other parts of the world) because it makes us uncomfortable.
We overlook it because it’s easier to NOT know.
We don’t WANT to see it or know about it.
Because what does that say about us if we KNOW— and yet do nothing?
Don’t overlook these children because it makes you uncomfortable.
We are to remember the oppressed as if we were being mistreated and suffering right along side them. There aren’t many people who willingly go for the whole for suffering and mistreatment bit, I know.
He suffered horribly and was grossly mistreated and died an agonizing death- for you… for me… and for them.
We are all the unworthy.
We are all the undeserving.
Don’t overlook that either.
What’s LOVE got to do with it?
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
**Full disclosure here…
We’re going through a series on Hebrews at church. Last Sunday, our pastor used these verses as the basis for his sermon. Thank you Pastor Dan for the inspiration!