Guess what? We do the same thing.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. Jas 1:27
Here’s the math in that one: visit the fatherless and widows + keep yourself unstained from the world = pure religion. Let’s simplify it even more:
Take care of the needy + live a moral life = pure religion.
Do you know what we do? We go to church on Sunday. If we are especially spiritual, we don’t do the big bad sins—we don’t lie, cheat, steal, or commit adultery. But when was the last time you just spent an evening visiting, for example, a lonely widow? Yes, “visit” in that passage stands for more than just dropping by. It means seeing to their needs too, but let me tell you something. They need a visit a whole lot more than we seem to think they do. Not a call, not a card—a visit. They need companionship, something you take for granted and even try to get away from occasionally.
Older people love to have someone to talk with. They love to have someone actually sit and listen to them as if they were more than something taking up space. They love for young people to ask them questions, to ask for advice, to ask about the “olden days.” Young people make them feel young again too. They will talk about that visit for weeks, that’s how much it means to them.
They used to be young. They lived every bit as exciting and busy a life as you do. They’ve been through things you never experienced and have come through with their souls and sense intact. You would do well to take what they say with more than a grain of salt, and use it.
So remember your math. No matter how many sins you successfully overcome, no matter how “unstained” you are, if that’s all you have, you still do not have pure religion. No more than your unbaptized friends and neighbors have remissions of sins!
But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1John 3:17-18