Religious Liberty ≠ Legislated Morality: Part 2

Soooo, here is that part 2 I promised from last week…check out part 1 here…

Here are the facts of what I believe concerning foster care and adoption:

  • These are essential for the success of a society and are instrumental in providing opportunities for future generations.

“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say “It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.” Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”

Fred Rogers

“Belonging to a family is a natural and vital component of life, and every child deserves to be a member of a loving and nurturing family.”

Ronald Reagan
  • These are close to God’s heart.  Foster care and adoption originated in Scripture.
    • God as a foster-parent: Psalm 68:5-6 “God in his holy dwelling is a father of the fatherless…God provides homes for those who are deserted.”
    • God as adopted father: Romans 8:15 “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

“Foster care and adoption are close to the heart of God. Shouldn’t they be close to our hearts, then, as followers of Jesus?”

  • These were and are the responsibility of the people who follow Jesus, even greater than those who do not not believe.
    • James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
    • Matthew 25:40 “The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

“It’s important to realize that we adopt not because we are rescuers.

No. We adopt because we are rescued.”

David Platt
  • I believe that we are failing children and families, failing our country, and failing as a human, with our lack of involvement at any level in foster care or adoption.
    • Here are some words that are going to hurt me and you, but they are truthful and spoken in love:
      • I get the concept of trying to legislate morality and desiring that an impressionable child be safe and sheltered within a home that reflects God’s design for marriage.  
      • The problem is that the church is not doing enough about it anyways.  
      • Allowing a child a stable home with loving adults is what Health and Human Services is indeed responsible for – “The Administration for Children & Families (ACF) is a division of the Department of Health & Human Services.  ACF promotes the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals and communities.”  THAT IS THEIR MISSION STATEMENT! 
      • So of course they are going to look at the economically, emotionally, and socially stable home of an LGBTQ couple/individual and place them there.  That is their responsibility to our government…NOT to our God.
      • You see, the church is pretty consistent on shouting at what is morally wrong – abortion, LGBTQ, welfare, Critical Race Theory – but we are dreadfully silent, on the whole, when it comes to DOING anything about those things. The church has tried to legislate our society’s morals, and done nothing to live those morals out ourselves.

“The church has tried to legislate our society’s morals, and done nothing to live those morals out ourselves.”

Let me close with why this is important and what you and I can do…

Why is this important?

  1. God calls us to live lives of moral value, not to try and legalize morality. If we are being honest, isn’t legalizing morality what the Pharisees did? Jesus wasn’t too hip on that…
  2. The church should be asking the government to help us in ministering to the orphan, the widow, and the poor. It is overwhelmingly to the adverse today…which means that churches ARE NOT doing what God has called them to do in their communities and that the government is picking up what slack they can.
    • Let me break that down for you real quick:
    • Churches are not caring for the orphan/child/family as we should which merits a few things from a worldly government’s point of view 1) the necessity for a foster care system, which is faulty and frail at times 2) abortions provide relief to the system, being that there will be less children that would possibly overwhelm the system.
    • Churches are not caring for the widow/widower as we should which merits a few things from a worldly government’s point of view 1) the necessity for social security, which again is faulty and frail at times 2) Medicare, disability, and universal healthcare provide for elderly Americans who can’t care for themselves, and do not have a local church that could do so, or better worded, DOES NOT do so.
    • Churches are not caring for the poor as we should which merits a few things from a worldly government’s point of view 1) the necessity for a welfare system 2) creating a dependent constituent base to drive deeper agendas and programs.

So what can we do?

I get it. A lot of that is overwhelming, especially in generalized terms and 30000 foot views. I plan in the weeks to focus in on the things mentioned above with more precision and more statistics and examples. But the question won’t change – what can you and I do to stop leaning on legislated morality in our lives and start living out the Gospel? I’m glad you asked…

  • Just do something!!! This is a great starting point…find something that you feel passionate about – loving on kids, serving elderly folks, feeding hungry mouths, advocating for the voiceless – and make a move on those passions. That looks different for each of us.
  • Plug-in to foster care!!! Listen, forget any and all horrible and messy stories that you have heard about foster care. Reality is that it is gonna be horrible and messy sometimes, for everyone involved. But anything that is worth it will be! Also, I know I just railed on the fact that churches dropped the ball and government had to pick it up in this area, but we have chances to redeem that through foster care. Serve as a foster parent, serve as respite care for foster parents (y’all, from a foster parent, this is HUGE!), become a Child Advocate with CASA, and just spend some time with families that are fostering. There are a ridiculous amount of things that you can do!
  • Visit your local Nursing Home!!! You want to make a difference in someone’s life today? Like this moment? Go be with some great folks at the nearest nursing home! Talk, play games, sing, watch TV, even just sit with them. Maybe its not at the nursing home, but you know a neighbor or someone near your house who is retired or a widow/widower or maybe doesn’t have any family nearby, and be present with them.
  • Give of your time, your experience, your connections, and, yes, give of your resources to the poor!!! Listen, quit justifying your lack of care for the poor and just surrender to being a “cheerful giver.” But don’t think that I am minimizing that to dropping some change to someone with a sign on the street corner. No, I am saying to give more than that! Spend time with folks who have fallen on hardship. Offer your personal experiences to those who don’t have the life experiences that you do (I hear this a lot, “well they just need to get out and get a job.” Reality is that they most likely have not had someone, outside of a shelter, share with them how and where to get a job. Maybe you can be that for someone!). Speaking of which, utilize your connections to give to the poor among us. Everyone knows someone who is looking for workers. We all know someone with more resources than us that we might be able to rely on for help. Every believer should know where a church is! Get that person who is struggling with bills in contact with your church family. And give of what God has blessed you with! It is just stuff and money, and in eternity it lacks the importance in comparison with that person that you helped and took the opportunity to share Jesus with.
  • OH AND PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE SHARE THE GOSPEL!!! The Gospel is a great adoption story! The Gospel provides peace and rest for the widow/widower! The Gospel gives hope and contentment to the poor! Listen to me, follower of Jesus: If the first part of 1 Corinthians 13 tells us anything, it tells us that our works are petty and annoying if we do not love someone enough to communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them! Don’t do any of the things above if you are not willing to submit to the Gospel call on your life in any of them, lest you become a “noisy gong” and produce “nothing” of value.