The receipt of a poem titled as above, caused me to look at and ponder James 1:27 once again. "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." When we read that verse many of us can see nothing except an institutional home for orphans or old folk. That is far from what the writer had in mind.

The word "visit" carries with it the idea of coming in contact with any misery that these individuals might have experienced. The word "fatherless" comes from the word rendered "orphans" by us. So it could be "parentless" as well as just "fatherless." Because of their condition, they have been brought into a destitute situation. The widows are ones who have no one to care for them and are in similar condition as the "parentless."

The poem says "It's in the valleys I grow." Well, I may not have had too many valleys so James says, we should share the valleys of others. We must come into personal contact with misery. There is nothing wrong with making a generous contribution to a person's need but it means more and causes growth when we look upon and share another's grief or destitution. So James is giving instruction on how to grow as one of God's children. To grow in "pure and undefiled religion" is the doing of something personally to relieve pain and suffering.

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