In a recent blog post, The Adoption Law Firm published its Statement of First Orphan Care Principles.
The first of those principles is that “Orphan care is good because it is good (i.e., self-evidently good).” What do we mean that orphan care is self-evidently good?
First of all, we must acknowledge that some things are self-evident. That is, some things we know to be good and true because these truths are written on the heart of every person.
Two literary examples will illustrate this point. First, C.S. Lewis invites us to consider a county where cowardice is exalted and thievery is held on a pedestal. Such a country simply does not exist. All cultures universally hold somethings to be good, such as bravery and caring for the weak and poor; and somethings to be evil, such as cowardice and unjustified killing.
A second literary example comes from the United States’ cherished Declaration of Independence. The second paragraph begins this way: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights . . . .” The self-evidentiary nature of certain truths was a fundamental fixture in the worldview of the founders of the United States of America.
The Apostle Paul diagnosed this human characteristic when he explained that even those who have never been exposed to the law of God (Gentiles) have the law of God “written on their hearts.” (Romans 2) Thus, even apart from the influence of God’s infallible playbook, all men have a certain sense of what is right and wrong.
This is where we can have great agreement with non-Christians who are engaged in orphan care … and there are many. Even though these “Gentiles” are non-submissive to God’s reign in their hearts, a certain aspect of the image of God remains with them. They have been gifted with the common grace to recognize and act on the goodness of orphan care as being self-evident.
In other words, orphan care is good, simply because it is good. If you ask a non-believing orphan-care-advocate why they do what they do, it may be hard for them to explain it … you may just get a blank stare … or they may describe the great suffering that orphans endure around the world and the need to show them compassion. Much like the drafters of the Declaration of Independence, they affirm the goodness of showing compassion to the orphan as “self-evident” – it needs no further proof.
As believers, we must embrace this motivation as legitimate and good. After all, we are created in God’s image, and he is “Father of the fatherless.” (Psalm 68:5)
Photo by Tormod Sandtorv.