The Sin of Our Generation
“I believe that this could very well be looked back on as the sin of our generation. I look at my parents and ask, where were they during the civil rights movement? I look at my grandparents and ask, what were they doing when the holocaust in Europe was occurring with regard to the Jews, and why didn’t they speak up? And when we think of our great, great, great-grandparents, we think how could they have sat by and allowed slavery to exist? And I believe that our children and their children, 40 or 50 years from now, are going to ask me, what did you do while 40 million children became orphans in Africa?”
–Rich Stearns, President of World Vision
I first read this quote awhile ago but came across it again recently and it hit me in a much different way. I don’t want to make light of what Mr. Stearns is saying. I believe that the orphan crisis in Africa and around the world could very well be called the “sin of our generation”. (Second maybe to evangelism, or lack-there-of) And he is obviously very intelligent and wise. It’s pretty clear he also loves Jesus.
But, my fear is not that my children or grandchildren will question my response to this crisis. My fear is that my Creator, the Creator of those precious orphans, will ask me and a host of self-proclaiming Christians one day “What did you do while 156 million children became orphans around the world?”
I’m not as worried about what people will say or think; most people will have no idea that I even existed in 75 years. My mist will be long gone.
If there are 225 million of us (adult Christ followers) in the US and upwards of half a million of them (orphans) in the US as well, shouldn’t simple math tell you that something is very wrong? Even if you look at the global statistics, the believers in the US alone could (I’m not at ALL suggesting that we should, in fact, BAD idea) care for all of the orphans in the entire world.
I understand that something IS very wrong. We live in a fallen world where there exists sin and hatred and brokenness and heartbreak and cancer and orphans. But God knew this did he not? He knew that the fallen world would look and feel very… fallen.
But God calls us to be the light, the salt, to go and tell about his Son, to care for the poor, the oppressed, the widow, the orphan… He commands us to these things knowing how difficult it would be and the hardship it would bring. But he promises us eternal rewards, not temporary ease and comfort. He lived here himself. He felt it for himself. No one knows the depth and magnitude of our fallen world more than the One who was slain for it.
There are plenty of people who will tell you what you want to hear. Thank God there are also people who will tell you the truth. The truth is, that caring for orphans and vulnerable children is hard and exhausting and messy and will bring suffering and fiery darts.
I know some of these things first hand, but not all of them. Someone loved me enough to share their story, to be real with me and to prepare me for what lies ahead. It’s also all over the Bible. (Just sayin’.) Suffering should be expected, even more so when we are obeying His commands.
As Matt Chandler so aptly puts it, I would much rather, on that day when I meet my Maker, say to him that I took him for his word, that I thought he meant what he said and ask forgiveness for maybe being a bit too bold or harsh. (I know some of you are thinking right now “Amen sister, you’ll be asking!”) I would rather say that, than to say that I thought he was kidding. Or didn’t really mean it. Or that I ignored his commands.
It could be today that I meet Him. It could be today that you meet Him. And Jesus will cover our laziness and He will cover our arrogance and He will cover our apathy. But the tension is what it looks like when we live in obedience now. We are here now to make disciples.
156 million orphans turned disciples adopted into His Kingdom would be a powerful army for Christ, wouldn’t they?
Lindsy and her husband William lead the Orphan Care Ministry at Antioch Church in Louisville, Kentucky and are passionate about sharing God’s love for the fatherless and caring for orphans as a family. Their desire is to provide Believers with practical ideas and encouragement for orphan care and adoption. The Wallace’s have been married for six years, have two biological children and two children currently living with them through the Safe Families program. They have been pursuing international adoption from Africa for three years. Lindsy blogs about orphan care, adoption and more at www.wordfromthewallaces.blogspot.com and can be reached at wordfromthewallaces @ gmail . com.