I came face to face with a real life orphan recently and the results were surprising to me. Let me clarify that this was a normal interaction in the routine of life and not a mission trip to an orphanage in a third world country. This was me offering of myself to help someone else with good intentions of mentoring and affirmation. The reaction, however, made it clear that they didn’t want what I was offering and didn’t mind offending me with deception in the process of them walking out their rejection of my attempted rescue.
Orphans are all around us and sometimes they are us. It is the thing within each of us that scrambles to protect ourselves or provide for ourselves without trust that others will accept us. It’s the void within us that causes us to choose behaviors that are illogical outside of the context that reveals that the choices are being made out of wounds rather than reasoning. The deeper the hurt or more desperate the loneliness, the more confusing the choices to the outside observer. Orphans are not limited to belief or unbelief, but contingent more on healed, unhealed and the extent of healing.
I want to be a father to the fatherless. I want to invest in the next generation. As such, I extend to reach others with the sincere intention of investment and multiplication. From a logical perspective, those that are hurting or needy should be willing immediately to receive what I or others like me want to give them. The problem is that logic isn’t the lens for how they view the offering.
When those that want to invest in others are rejected, deceived or otherwise manipulated, the intention of investment is tested by the reality of the problem. Even the well-intentioned mentor is a human and a work in progress themselves. The reaction that they choose will be critical to the future of the relationship and any hope for impact. The investor has to be a father first and foremost. A father doesn’t reject the son but gives grace to allow for the return of the prodigal. A father doesn’t take offense.
If the potential father doesn’t have tolerance for the choices that are sure to come out of the deep wounds of the orphan, then the father won’t father at all. He’ll spin his wheels in good intentions and pile on the disappointments that have already had their way within the orphan to re-affirm the lies that the orphan currently chooses as their operating platform. If the father doesn’t know that he is a son and remember as much when faced with the depravity of another, then the father actually becomes the orphan, as well.