In this series on being a neighbor, that is, on what it means to fulfill the second of the Great Commandments—“You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:39)—I want to look at what it means to be a neighbor to some of society’s most vulnerable people: orphans.

My wife is the hospitable one in our family. I’m more like the ogre who would rather stay in his cave while the world swirls outside. She’s taught me a lot about what biblical hospitality means and how to extend love to the people around us. She grew up in a family that regularly had people over for dinner, opened their home to foreign exchange students, and never met a stranger. She’s brought that culture of hospitality into our own home, shining a light on my own selfishness and lack of love for others.

We both knew that we wanted to foster and/or adopt children long before we met each other and were married ten years ago. Neither of us knew just how much it would stretch and strengthen our ability to be hospitable, to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Russ Meek

Associate Professor of Old Testament at William Tennent School of Theology