Skip to main content

Principle 10: Protect the Helpless

One of the required or mandated "screenings" we must perform in American healthcare with any patient who comes into our clinics, hospitals, etc., is that of "abuse, neglect, or exploitation".  As a result, healthcare providers are obligated to report such suspicions to the various authorities.  A failure to do so could result in serious penalties to the healthcare worker and/or institution. I don't know that these "rules" apply in all countries, though, but they should. Believe it or not, they are scriptural!  There are a variety of individuals in this world who scripture used to refer to as the "helpless" - orphans, widows, and those unable to speak for themselves, such as the mentally handicapped and elderly demented.  As a basis of establishing "fair dealings" with these individuals, scripture warns repeatedly about taking advantage of them.  This may be in the realm of their finances, the use of their time or talent, or even the use of their things - such as lands, physical property, etc.  Just the very hint of any misdealing with these individuals will raise the hair on the back of God's neck, if you get the drift.  He stands as their ADVOCATE - and he doesn't stand alone!  He has a vast army of angels at his disposal!

Don’t stealthily move back the boundary lines or cheat orphans out of their property, for they have a powerful Advocate who will go to bat for them. (Proverbs 23:10-11 MSG)

At the time our passage was written, it was not uncommon for "evil men" to swoop in on widows, taking advantage of their loss and taking away their lands.  It was not the custom for the widow to work - she kept the house, the husband worked the fields, labored with his hands in some trade such as carpentry, etc.  The woman who lost her husband was left without a "bread-winner", so to speak.  She became easy prey for those who were looking to take advantage of the situation.  The warning in our passage is to deal fairly with the helpless - not looking for the advantage one might find in their misfortune.

In today's economy, there are a variety of people who are nothing more than common criminals - we call them scam artists.  They prey on the unsuspecting because they know all the right "buttons" to push to get the individual to trust them and then they go to work bringing ruin into their lives.  Unfortunately, despite news stories which report their misdeeds, websites advising of those scams to avoid, etc., people still get duped into believing the seemingly probable "truth" of the scam artist.  So, they need an advocate - here on earth as much as in heaven above!

There was a principle understood in Old Testament times of the kinsman redeemer.  The nearest kinsman to the widow was to step up to take her in and to care for her needs.  If he was not willing, it could pass to the next kinsman, but her needs were to be cared for within the community of relatives in which she lived.  God planned for the needs of the widow, orphan, and infirm as much as he planned for the needs of the sinner!  He is our kinsman redeemer in the sense of redeeming us from a life of sin, but he is also the advocate who provides a way for the "security" and "safety" of the helpless.

There are various opportunities to care for those who have no "kinsman" close enough to redeem them from their circumstances.  We are charged with the responsibility to always deal fairly with those who cannot defend themselves. When we do, we can be assured of God's approval of our actions.  God deals in both mercy and justice.  He extends mercy to those who reach out to help the helpless, but justice to those who will cross the line and take advantage of their misfortune.  The widow could not provide for the family; the orphan could not defend himself; the infirm have no apprehension of the wrong done to them.  Each holds the special attention of God, and as his ambassadors on this earth, they are to hold our attention, as well.  

We may no intentionally set out to "stealthily move back the ancient landmarks", but whenever we take advantage of anyone's helpless situation, we are engaging in pretty risky business.  Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce


When someone tells you that you need to wrap your mind around some concept, they are telling you that the subject at hand will take some effort on our part to actually get enough of a hint of it in order to even remotely understand it. The subject is complex, even a little overwhelming, and we will have to apply ourselves to really grasp it very well. We cannot wrap our minds around God's wisdom and knowledge - because it is infinite and our brains are sadly finite. We can only 'think' so far and then we have to 'trust'. Some of us think there is nothing we can trust if we cannot 'think' it through, but this will never work when it comes to our faith. Faith requires trust in what is unseen and not fully comprehended. The truth we believe is really building our trust, but until we approach God with more trust than 'thought', we will never fully grasp some of the things he has prepared for us. We cannot wrap our minds around God’s wisdom and knowledg

Give him the pieces

What or Who is it that causes division among you right now? Maybe it is more of a 'what' than a 'who' that is creating the division between you and something you need in your life. Perhaps you are struggling with an addiction to something that keeps coming between you and true liberty from the hold that thing has on you. Yes, addiction is really the worst kind of enslavement one can imagine - being so emotionally or psychologically attached to the 'thing' that any attempt to break free causes so much trauma in your life that you just cannot imagine being free. But...God is above that addiction - he is stronger than the emotional or psychological pull that thing has in your life. Maybe the dividing force in your life right now is a 'who' - a tough relationship challenge between you and a coworker, a spouse that seems to no longer share your interests or values, or even a relative that doesn't understand some of your choices and now chooses to withdraw