Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Hope is an amazing thing. And, the lack of hope is very depressing.
Recently, I experienced these truths. In early March, DYFS informed our family they would be removing our four foster children from our home. There was no rational reason for the removal, but DFYS can do whatever they want. Foster parents have no rights and no legal recourse to keep foster children. Hopelessness.
The next day, DYFS instructed us to take our foster daughter to the hospital because they thought she was dehydrated. At the hospital, two doctors determined she was not dehydrated; rather, she was a healthy three year old. Nevertheless, DYFS told us that we could not take her home. She would stay at the hospital for the night and, later, would be placed in a new foster home, that was foreign to her. When we had to leave, she was crying and asking when we would pick her up. We could not answer. All we could do was cry with her. Hopelessness.
We had lost our foster daughter and knew that, soon, we would lose our three foster sons. Hopelessness grew and turned into despair.
The next day, we spoke to Law Guardians. Law Guardians are attorneys appointed by the court to represent the interests of the children. DYFS had failed to inform the Law Guardians of the removal, even though the removal would effect the children. The Law Guardians were opposing the removal. They thought it would be best if the children remained with us. They requested an emergency hearing to keep the children with us. Hope blossomed.
Law Guardians rarely, if ever, oppose DYFS and try to keep children with specific foster parents. But, they undertook this action. Hope.
With this hope, my despair, depression, and hopelessness dissipated, replaced by hope and the energy to assist in keeping the children with us. Over the next few days, I spent hours talking to the Law Guardians and others to keep the children. I spent hours drafting a court document to communicate our story to the judge. Energy came from hope.
Bible verses about hope came to my mind. First, there is hopelessness. The world around us is full of pain and sorrow. No one escapes this pain. Furthermore, the ultimate pain comes upon death because everyone is a sinner doomed to hell. Hopelessness. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves. Hopelessness turns to depression, despair and death.
But, there is hope because Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross for my sins and His righteousness was imputed to me. Romans 8:24 says, "In this hope, we are saved." Instead of eternity in hell, we have "hope of eternal life" (Titus 1:2). While it is difficult to live in this world (the present age), we are "waiting for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13). When things are bad, we should continue to hope in God. Psalm 71:14 says, "I will hope continually and praise you . . ." Psalm 78:7 says, "they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God . . ."
Because of hope provided by God, there is no reason to be hopeless, stuck in despair, or depressed. Rather, God's hope should energize us to live holy lives and do good works until Jesus returns.
The placement of our foster children is not yet resolved. The court ordered DYFS to place the girl with some family friends, who she already knew. In addition, DYFS was ordered to leave the boys with us. In May, there is to be a trial to determine whether all of the children should stay with us or be removed. On one hand, there is hopelessness. The children may be removed and we can do nothing about it. From a human standpoint, we can do nothing but let the Law Guardians do the work and advocate for the children. On the other hand, I have hope that God is in control and He, alone, will determine where these precious children will live.
Posted by Bryan at 7:05 PM
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
During the last week, we have heard a lot about same sex marriage(SSM), but I wanted to add something that I have not heard anywhere.
In discussing the subject, many people are ignoring the need for a foundation for laws. If we do not have a foundation, then laws can be constantly changed at the whim of people, legislature, judges, etc. A law that seemed just and necessary to one generation can be completely reversed by another generation simply because the new generation has redefined justice. For example, prior to the second half of the 20th century, abortion was illegal in the United States. Then, a generation arose that decided the rights of women were more important than the life of an unborn child, so abortion became legal. The new generation detached abortion from its Judeo-Christian foundation and redefined justice. Laws against abortion became detached from a true foundation, so it could be changed. Since laws allowing abortion are not attached to a foundation, it is possible that a new generation could change such laws by simply determining that another value is more important than a woman's right to choose. Theoretically, a new generation could say that a father's rights are more important than a mother's rights, so a father can decide whether abortion is permissible. While I don't see this occurring, I am trying to show what has happened, and can happen, when there is no true foundation for law. Laws can change upon the whim of the law-makers.
So, how does this apply to the same sex marriage debate? Proponents of SSM claim that SSM should be legal because it is fair and equitable. They make this claim because it sounds good and is impossible to argue against. Who can argue against fairness and equality? Surely, fairness and equality will overrule other values.
On the other hand, proponents of traditional marriage most often cite the Bible and argue that God intended marriage to be only between a man and a woman. They have correctly based their law upon an unchanging foundation.
However, they have failed to explain the necessity of a foundation. Even the generally conservative Bill O'Reilly recently said that proponents of traditional marriage can only "thump the Bible" in their arguments and he believes that is not enough to defend traditional marriage. He is right if there is no true foundation for law. If biblical principles are simply competing against fairness and equality as acceptable foundations of law, then the Bible will, in this society, lose to fairness and equality.
Proponents of traditional marriage have failed to explain the necessity for a true foundation for law, so they are losing to the ideas of fairness and equality.
Historically, the United States has based its laws upon a Judeo-Christian foundation. Remember, the Declaration of Independence refers to inalienable rights provided by a Creator. The Founders were saying that England could not pass laws simply because they wanted to.
Rather, laws had to be based upon God's law. Based upon this foundation, marriage has only been allowed between a man and a woman. This same foundation is the basis of laws against murder, stealing, perjury, etc. If you abandon the Judeo-Christian foundation, then any law can be changed.
This may seem far-fetched, but it is not. In the 1930's, Hitler abandoned the Judea-Christian foundation of law and based laws upon what sounded good to the German people. He claimed that the world had abused Germany following World War I and that their troubles were caused by the Jews. Therefore, they could ignore the world's values, such as territorial boundaries, and they cold annihilate all Jews. This was the result of abandoning a Judeo-Christian foundation for law.
Following World War II, numerous German military officers were tried for war crimes, such as killing Jews. German military officers attempted to defend themselves by saying that they were acting in compliance with German laws. They claimed the world could not convict them when they were obeying their laws. It would be wrong for the world to impose its values and laws upon Germans who were obeying their laws. Guess what? This defense did not work because the German laws were wrong according to the ultimate foundation.
Proponents of traditional marriage are losing because our society has decided to abandon the Judeo-Christian foundation for laws. When the foundation if lost, then vague ideas of fairness and equality can win. But, even those values, without a true foundation, are subject to change at the whim of law-makers.
Posted by Bryan at 10:50 AM