Social Insecurity

I live close to my church, so every now and then, a poor person comes to my house and asks for help. Such was the case with a woman who knocked on my door not long ago. From the way she was dressed and the way she spoke, it was clear that she had not been homeless long. She said she needed lodging and help with bus fare to Seattle.
To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t in the mood to help. I had just finished a frustrating day at the office and was tired. My wife was sick. We were looking forward to spending a quiet evening alone. And, since I’m being honest, I resented the fact that the only reason this woman knocked on my door was because a church volunteer pointed out where I lived. Had he not done so, she wouldn’t have bothered me.
My conscience got to me, however, and after asking her a few questions, I arranged for lodging and drove her downtown to the bus station to buy her ticket to Seattle. On the way home, I reflected on my lot in life and hers. I was happily married, gainfully employed, respectfully housed, and socially secure. She was none of those things. She was socially insecure. I thanked God for the blessings he had given me and repented of the hard heart I had toward others less fortunate.
I tell you this story not because I’m proud of myself. Frankly, I’m a bit embarrassed about my initial response to this poor lady. Rather, I tell you this story because it reminded me of the yawning gap between the socially secure and the socially insecure in our society, between the haves and have-nots, between people with bright futures and people with no hope. And also because it reminded me of the yawning gap between the way I think about the socially insecure and the way God does.
Consider these two proverbs:
The Lord tears down the proud man’s house
but he keeps the widow’s boundaries intact (15:25).
Do not move an ancient boundary stone
or encroach on the fields of the fatherless,
for their Defender is strong;
he will take up their case against you.
Apply your heart to instruction
and your ears to words of knowledge (23:10-12).
“Widow” and “orphan” is Bible-talk for socially insecure people, that is, people without wealth, relationships, or skills to rely on when hard times fall on them. All they had was their ancestral plot of land from which they could not be disinherited by law. But because they had no wealth, relationship, or skills, widows and orphans often lost their land to unscrupulous people who took it from them by force. Against such unscrupulous thieves, God pledged himself to the socially insecure as their “Defender.” The point of these proverbs is that anyone who believes in God ought to be a defender of the widows and orphans too.
Remember that the next time a poor person knocks on your door!

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