November 10th is Stand Sunday, an extension of Orphan Care Sunday that is organized by the Christian Alliance for Orphans. Orphan Sunday shines a spotlight on the global orphan crisis. Stand Sunday puts the focus on foster care in the United States. In case you couldn’t tell, we care a lot about foster care. It’s impossible to be involved in foster care and not be forever impacted by it. Find out more about Stand Sunday here.
Many people nowadays are expressing feelings of disappointment, fear, and uncertainty. While those feelings are justified given current events, those are the same feelings that hundreds of thousands of foster kids feel every day. I’m not knowledgeable or experienced enough to comment on many current events, but I know foster care. If you want to talk about a population that has been stereotyped, marginalized, ignored, and traumatized by a damaged system, lets talk about foster care.
400,000(ish) kids that have been abused, neglected, experienced the death of a parent, or something equally horrible. Kids in foster care live every day with uncertainty and fear about their future. They are distrustful and angry at the system that is supposed to be helping them. They have to handle daily disappointments, like parents not showing up for a visit or being away from their family for a holiday. Foster care is a broken system. There are many people working really hard to make it better, but like most things, only the negatives get publicized.
So what can we do? The answer is equally simple and challenging. Love others like Jesus loves them. 1 John 4 is my favorite passage on love. Verse 11 says Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. Verse 18 says There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. Kids often live in fear prior to entering foster care. Being taken from their families is a very scary experience. They’re scared of the uncertainty of where they’re going to live or if they will ever see their families again. They need to be loved like Jesus loves them. Foster kids are scared. Many Americans are scared. We need to respond with love. We know that perfect love drives out fear.
1 Corinthians 13 says If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. (v 1-3, NLT)
I don’t know how to fix fear, but I know how to love people. I know how to be patient and kind. I try not to envy or boast. I don’t think I’m self seeking. I try (unsuccessfully at times) to not be easily angered. I don’t keep a record of wrongs. I don’t delight in evil but I do delight in truth. I do my best to always protect, trust, hope, and persevere. I’m pretty far from perfect, but love never fails. Love wins.