A More True Religion (The Forgotten God)

I marvel at how the Holy Spirit of God transformed Domingo and Irene, that once hate-filled couple. They went from wounding one another to loving one another powerfully. Irene went from hating Domingo to calling him “the godliest man she knows.”[1] This did not, and does not, happen over night. It is a slow process of undoing the human psyche and using the broken pieces to build a suitable temple for the Holy Spirit.

Their story brings to mind the simple words from the book of James, “This is true religion.” Let’s just take James at his word. There is something called “true religion,” and this is it:

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.[2]

I am nearly brought to tears by its simplicity, and yet, it seems too easy.

It seems so easy that I am tempted to write it off as works righteousness. But when was the last time I cared for an orphan or widow in their distress. Without a doubt there are widows and orphans in distress. I have not come across them in my day-to-day, and I have not sought them out.

No doubt there are questions and more questions to be answered, “Which widows and which orphans?” “How should we care for them?” And then Francis Chan wrote, “[Domingo and Irene] have been foster parents to thirty-two children and have adopted sixteen.”[3] This is true religion. They are not more righteous, but the evidence of their religion is evident. We must conclude that they serve a God who cares intimately for the widow and orphan.

Some attempt to avoid the powerful admonition of James by demonstrating how ridiculous it is to think about “saving the world.” But we were never to save the world. The World has a savior, if they would only turn and be healed of their disease. We are not called to save the world— but where is the evidence of our religion? How can we make our religion a “religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless?” This we must wrestle with.

Domingo and Irene have two “biologically” sons. “One of their sons has two biological and two adopted kids. Another son has three biological and three adopted kids. Now, I am not very good at math, but even I get excited at that kind of multiplication. Think about it! What if each person reading these words adopted one child, and that child adopted one child—just one! Do you want to know what I think—ours would be a more true religion. Ours would be a “religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless?”

[1] Pg. 60.

[2] James 1:27

[3] Pg. 60.

One Comment:

  1. I have been contemplating this verse in James for the past 4 days (after reading Isa. 1). What does it mean for me? This kind of care seems so basic, yet we don’t hear challenges from the pulpit regarding it. Fulfilling this challenge doesn’t fit into any tidy little package or program, yet IS expected of us. John took the challenge seriously to look after Mary. Who is our Mary?

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