“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.”
With the election cycle now in full swing, we hear through the media the various political candidates promoting their plans for America, and how to make it prosperous and a good place to live. Now, I certainly agree that the role of government is to ensure the safety and well-being of its citizens, to look out for their welfare, grant them access to the material needs and desires of life, and provide them with justice and stability. But I notice that myself, and the Church, will often forget OUR role in society: To comfort and provide for the distressed, and keep each other free of the taint of the world’s evil.
James tells us that true religion is caring for widows and orphans, and staying clear of evil. So do we practice that? If someone asks us, “what is your religion?,” can we honestly respond “caring for widows and orphans” and “speaking out against evil?” How much do shirk our responsibility, handing over the poor and oppressed to the care of the state? When the hurting and oppressed cry out at the evil inflicted on them, do we cry with them? When evil bombards us from all sides, in the media, in education, in the workplace, do we strip away its masks and reveal it for all its ugliness? Or are we content to let the government take over and legislate morality?
This is not to say that the Church does not care for the hurting, oppressed, and the needy, and doesn’t struggle against the evil of the world. It certainly does. But I know that for myself at least, I need a reminder of what my job here on earth is. There should be no one in my church who doesn’t have shelter or food when I have those things. I shouldn’t need the government to dictate a moral code because I fail to speak out against evil. The question for myself, and for you, is – what thing can I do to help the needy at my church? And what evil is there that I’m content to let society at large deal with, when my church could be at the front lines combating it?