Religion that God Accepts as being Pure & Spotless…

Life is hard, and as most of us have come to realize, it isn’t for the faint of heart.  One only has to open their eyes to the world around them to see how difficult life can be and how quickly things can change.  Humanity doesn’t like to look at life too closely because life can be complicated and is often messy.  We are like the people mentioned in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25–37), “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when robbers attacked him.  They stripped him of his clothes, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead.” Instead of going over and getting involved, they crossed to the other side of the street to absolve themselves of any responsibility that would require them to get personally involved.  The truth of the matter is this, not doing anything doesn’t absolve us of responsibility.  I would say the opposite is true; it requires from us greater accountability. 

Our ability to look at a situation and come to a correct conclusion will determine whether or not God sees our involvement as being either negative or positive.  Take, for instance, the three men who came to help Job.  They came to comfort Job, but their ideology was flawed, so instead of coming and aiding Job, their misunderstandings concerning the reasons for Job’s afflictions did not help Job but caused God’s wrath to come upon them.  Not exactly the outcome one would want or expect.   The problem was simple; they came to fix Job, but there was nothing to fix because Job didn’t do anything wrong.  If there was nothing Job did that caused him to be afflicted, then what happened to Job could happen to any one of us.  And, no one wants to hear that; we would rather see a direct correlation between cause and effect.  If there is no cause and effect, then we are at the whim of a wild order in which bad things happen to good people, good things happen to bad people, and chaos can and often reign supreme. 

Presently, the world is in a quagmire causing entire nations to go through intense suffering at the hands of evil regimes.  Averting our eyes from watching the horrors is difficult, if not impossible, to do.  Families are forced to pack their possessions into what they can carry and make a heroic and challenging trek to a border nation without knowing if or when they may ever be allowed to return.  This should be sobering to anyone with a heart.  What have these people done to deserve such a fate, personally or corporately?  Ir-regardless of whether you feel their nation is corrupt or not, these are people with lives that are worthy of respect because they are so much more like us than we may want to admit.  They are caught up in a wild order, chaos is running rampant, and the tide of destruction is carrying them along like a tsunami that comes over the land and washes away everything decent.  They had to leave their husbands, fathers, or sons to fight a foe who had as their intent not just to take over their country but destroy it, literally annihilate it, making it unlivable and horrific for generations?

One only has to look at the faces of the children and their brave mothers.  So many have undergone the difficult task of remaining strong in the face of such a historical injustice.  For generations, they will be seen as victims in a long list of nations that have suffered genocide at the hands of despots and mass murderers.  Every nation should do all they can to stop a person or government from doing this; the world is presently tasked with stopping a modern-day Hitler or Stalin.  I would rather fail in my attempt to put a stop to chaos, even if it means our county may be the next country to fall, than sit back and do nothing.  Doing nothing is a crime against humanity and will ultimately hold us all in bondage.   It also robs our children because when justice is denied, then hope is crushed.  To not allow the next generation to see the previous one rise up against injustice does irreparable damage to the heart and soul of a child.  It sends the wrong message, and what God had intended to be part of their destiny and purpose, the enemy is given permission to distort and corrupt.  This takes what God meant for good and turns it into something that is far below what man was destined to achieve. 

 Our Responsibility Is To Look After Orphans And Widows In Their Distress

When you study history as it relates to nations, you will see that far more countries fall into tyranny than follow their better angels.  It is a crime to not be moved by the plight of what is happening.  But it is not easy; it is not easy to make a conscious decision to become involved because the stakes are so high and the results are so difficult to measure that you can become disillusioned and disheartened.  First, one needs to look within themselves rather than at something that is so big that one will become disenchanted with the magnitude of the problem.  You may not be able to change the situation, but perhaps you can change yourself, and if you can do that, then maybe you will become good enough to help another.  Our mistake is when we find ourselves driven by the failures of the past.  When that happens, it takes away any potential for a future.  There are so many paths that you can go down, and from the moment you wake up, you are faced with a plethora of opportunities.  The opportunities that are before us give us the ability to choose a direction.  That is the reality of the process you have that allows you to be made into the image of God.  In the beginning, God spoke and turned potential into a plausible outcome.  Confront the potential you possess within, and you will see it turn into reality.  Through truthful speech, God causes a person’s being to be called out of chaos into the light of reason. 

What happens to us is not always meaningless or random.  By our fruits, the world will know us, and that is faith in action; if our fruit is tarnished, what does that say about how others see us.  Will they see that we are uncaring, selfish, and overwhelmed?  Perhaps we are so overcome by the big picture that we are in danger of becoming more shell-shocked and fearful, making us worthless to mankind.  Is it Russia, or is it Putin?  In some ways, it is both, but then the snake in the garden was found in both, perhaps more in the one than the other.  But it is in us as well, and if we can root it out of ourselves, perhaps we can root it out of the other.  Then we can do some good while the day is still with us.  Pastor Henry Madova, the pastor of the largest network of churches in Ukraine, has said, “You can only overcome the person you love, not the person you hate.” That is why we are told to love well.  All of us should evaluate a situation to discern when a chance of success is before us.  Seizing the moment is essential because what lies ahead is in the balance, and no one knows what tomorrow holds. We must be ready because not doing anything is not an option, and it allows the opportunity to slip away.

  “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27  At the time James wrote this, both represented society’s most helpless members.  Widows were women who had lost their husbands before bearing children—leaving them destitute.  Children without parents, and women without husbands, were among that culture’s most needy.  How far have we fallen if we allow this to happen to a nation?  Let us not be like other generations who look at the holocaust and say ‘never again,’ all the while allowing it to happen just this one more time. Winston Churchill once said,  “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

Like the sons of Issachar, we need to ask for Godly wisdom so that we are capable of understanding the times and have the courage to do what is right in the eyes of God.  May we not be in fear of man nor intimidated by their heartless threats but be ones that are mindful of what our Father accepts as being pure and faultless while we walk in His ways.

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