“Pure Religion” and “My Neighbor” Defined
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. James 1:27.
What is pure religion? Christ has told us that pure religion is the exercise of pity, sympathy, and love in the home, in the church, and in the world. This is the kind of religion to teach to the children, and is the genuine article. Teach them that they are not to center their thoughts upon themselves, but that wherever there is human need and suffering, there is a field for missionary work....
There are many who ask, as did the lawyer, “Who is my neighbor?” The answer comes down to us in the circumstances that happened near Jericho, when the priest and the Levite passed by on the other side, and left the poor, bruised, and wounded stranger to be taken care of by the good Samaritan. Everyone who is in suffering need is our neighbor. Every straying son and daughter of Adam, who has been ensnared by the enemy of souls, and bound in the slavery of wrong habits that blight the God-given manhood or womanhood, is my neighbor....
Would that children might be educated from their babyhood, through their childhood and youth, to understand what is the missionary work to be done right around them. Let the home be made a place for religious instruction. Let parents become mouthpieces of the Lord God of Israel, to teach the precepts of true Christianity, and let them be examples of what the principles of love can make men and women.
We are to think and care for others who need our love, our tenderness, and care. We should ever remember that we are representatives of Christ, and that we are to share the blessings that He gives, not with those who can recompense us again, but with those who will appreciate the gifts that will supply their temporal and spiritual necessities. Those who give feasts for the purpose of helping those who have but little pleasure, for the purpose of bringing brightness into their dreary lives, for the purpose of relieving their poverty and distress, are acting unselfishly and in harmony with the instruction of Christ.—The Review and Herald, November 12, 1895.
Good deeds are the fruit that Christ requires us to bear: kind words, deeds of benevolence, of tender regard for the poor, the needy, the afflicted. When hearts sympathize with hearts burdened with discouragement and grief, when the hand dispenses to the needy, when the naked are clothed, the stranger made welcome to a seat in your parlor and a place in your heart, angels are coming very near, and an answering strain is responded to in heaven.—Testimonies for the Church 2:25.
From Reflecting Christ - Page 253