Single Persons Commitment To God


Single Persons Commitment To God

West's Encyclopedia of American Law
COPYRIGHT 2005 The Gale Group, Inc.

Proceedings directing the confinement of a mentally ill or incompetent person for treatment.

Pursuant to statutory and case law, due process protections are afforded to persons who have been involuntarily committed, including periodic judicial review.

Commitment has often raised difficult issues of balancing the civil liberties of the person who is subject to commitment against other competing interests, including the rights of society to be protected from individuals who might prove dangerous as a result of their mental illness or incompetence, and the community's interest in ensuring that these individuals receive proper treatment.

Each state has its own detailed statutory scheme providing for the involuntary commitment of individuals who might be mentally ill or incompetent.

These statutes usually contain language defining the types of mental illnesses and conditions covered by the law, as well as certain conditions that are excluded from coverage—generally mental retardation, epilepsy, developmental disabilities, and drug or alcohol addiction.

In addition, most state commitment statutes set forth specific criteria or standards that link these conditions to justifications for involuntary commitment.

Most jurisdictions have at least one criterion that is a person's dangerousness to himself or herself, or others.

Some states require that other criteria that are closely related to dangerousness be met, such as the presence of a grave disability or an inability to provide for one's basic human needs, or that some medical or psychological treatment is essential to the person's welfare.

Since the 1980s, some states have moved significantly away from a strict dangerousness standard for involuntary commitment. In Arizona, for example, a person who is “persistently or acutely disabled” because of mental illness may be subject to commitment (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann.

§ 36-540 (A) [1995]), and in Delaware, an individual who cannot make “responsible decisions” about inpatient care and treatment may be committed (Del. Code Ann. tit. 16, § 5001 [1995]). An even broader standard has been enacted in Iowa, where the law provides that a person may be committed if he or she is ly to inflict serious emotional injury on family or others who “lack reasonable opportunity” to avoid contact with that person (Iowa Code Ann. § 229.1 [West 1995]).

In most jurisdictions, commitment requires a showing that inpatient hospitalization is the least restrictive treatment alternative for the person, in addition to a showing of dangerousness. This requirement is the principle, established by the U.S.

Supreme Court, that even though a government purpose might be legitimate and substantial, the purpose “cannot be pursued by means that broadly stifle fundamental personal liberties when the end can be more narrowly achieved” (Shelton v. Tucker, 364 U.S. 479, 81 S. Ct. 247, 5 L. Ed. 2d 231 [1960]).

As a result, most states, through either statutes or case law, recognize a patient's right to be treated in the least restrictive setting.

Despite the difficult legal issues relating to the restriction of liberty that results from involuntary treatment, the U.S.

Supreme Court has considered the constitutionality of civil commitment on relatively few occasions.

In 1975, in perhaps its most significant decision on the issue, the Court held that a state “cannot constitutionally confine … a non-dangerous individual who is capable of surviving safely in freedom

by himself or with the help of willing and responsible family members or friends” (O'Connor v. Donaldson, 422 U.S. 563, 95 S. Ct. 2486, 45 L. Ed. 2d 396).

The Court further stated that a “mere finding” of mental illness “cannot justify a state's locking a person up against his will and keeping him indefinitely in simple custodial confinement.

” Although the Court appeared to establish the right of a nondangerous individual not to be involuntarily committed, it left unresolved the issue of whether a mentally ill person has a constitutional right to treatment.

In a later decision, Zinermon v. Burch, 494 U.S. 113, 110 S. Ct. 975, 108 L. Ed. 2d 100 (1990), the Court further addressed dangerousness as a justification for civil commitment.

It stated that involuntary commitment procedures “guard against the confinement of a person who, though mentally ill, is harmless and can live safely outside an institution.

” Confinement of such a person would be unconstitutional, the Court held.

The involuntary commitment of individuals who previously have been convicted of a crime has presented an entirely new set of constitutional considerations.

The most significant issue has concerned whether a prisoner, following completion of her or his sentence, may be committed to a psychiatric facility without receiving the same due process protections afforded to other individuals who are subjected to civil commitment.

The high court addressed the issue in Jones v. United States, 463 U.S. 354, 103 S. Ct. 3043, 77 L. Ed. 2d 694 (1983).

In Jones, the defendant was acquitted of a crime by reason of insanity, but was confined to a psychiatric hospital for longer than his sentence would have been, had he been convicted. Michael Jones challenged the constitutionality of his commitment. A 5–4 majority of the U.S.

Supreme Court affirmed the commitment. The Court reasoned that punishment of an insanity acquittee is inappropriate, and thus the length of the criminal sentence that would have been imposed, had the patient been found sane, was not relevant.

Instead, the Court held, the duration of the commitment should depend on the patient's recovery. Thus, if the patient's condition warrants further treatment, the commitment could continue, regardless of the length of the sentence that otherwise would have been imposed.

The commitment of individuals who have been convicted of sex-related crimes has sparked even more intense debate.

Courts in many states have had to address difficult questions involving so-called sexual predators: Should these individuals be allowed to re-enter society after they have served their prison terms? May a state detain them indefinitely without violating their constitutional rights?

These questions went before the U.S. Supreme Court in Kansas v. Hendricks, 521 U.S. 346, 117 S. Ct. 2072, 138 L. Ed. 2d 501 (1997).

In that case, the Court reviewed the constitutionality of the Kansas Sexually Violent Predator Act, which establishes procedures for the civil commitment of persons who, due to a mental abnormality or a personality disorder, are ly to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence. Kan. Stat.

§§ 59-29a01 et seq. Kansas invoked the act in committing an inmate who had a long history of sexually molesting children, and who was scheduled for release from prison shortly after the act became law.

In a 5-4 decision written by Associate Justice clarence thomas, the Court rejected arguments that someone can be confined to a mental institution only if the person has been diagnosed with a mental illness.

The Court also rejected arguments that the Kansas law violated the double jeopardy provision of the fifth amendment to the U.S.

Constitution, even though, under the law, persons who are first imprisoned for a sex crime may be institutionalized again when their criminal sentence has been served, some of the same evidence that had been used to convict them.

The Kansas law created a civil commitment procedure that would result in confinement in a mental hospital, the Court said, and the protection against double jeopardy is only triggered by subsequent criminal punishments and prosecutions.

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision was hailed by Kansas and the 38 other states that had urged the justices to uphold the law. However, defense lawyers, civil libertarians, and mental health professionals warned that the decision might allow states to lock up convicts who are not truly dangerous to society.

In effect, said several mental health experts, the ruling misuses mental hospitals for punishment purposes, singling out one category of violent criminal for unlimited incarceration without the safeguards afforded to criminal defendants in the bill of rights.

Dissenting justices echoed these sentiments in Hendricks, writing that while they agreed in principle with idea that states may confine sexual predators who are deemed to be mentally abnormal, in this case it appeared that Kansas had not tried to treat the mental problems of the convict whose case was before the court.

As a result, they wrote, his institutionalization functioned more a punishment, and therefore it was unconstitutional.

Although 19 states now have laws authorizing civil commitment for sexual predators, courts in many of those states have been highly circumspect in applying them.

For example, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that the state could not commit a prisoner, who was serving a criminal sentence for operating a motor vehicle without the owner's consent, as a sexually violent predator, even though the prisoner had been convicted for sexually violent offenses in the past. In re Detention of Gonzales, 658 N.W.2d 103 (Iowa 2003).

The prisoner was not confined for a sexually violent offense at the time that state filed its petition for commitment. Further, the state failed to prove, or even to allege, a recent overt act that met the statutory definition for being a sexual predator.

The Iowa Supreme Court reasoned that it would not be just or reasonable “to allow the state to reach back in time, seize on a sexually violent offense for which a defendant was discharged, and couple this with a present confinement for a totally different offense—or, perhaps, a trivial one—and use the Sexually Violent Predator Act to confine the person.”

further readings

Haycock, Joel, et al. 1994. “Mediating the Gap: Thinking about Alternatives to the Current Practice of Civil Commitment.” New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement 20.

Parry, John. 1994. “Involuntary Civil Commitment in the Nineties: A Constitutional Perspective.” Mental and Physical Disability Law Reporter 18.

Miller, Robert D. 1987. Involuntary Civil Commitment of the Mentally Ill in the Post-Reform Era. Springfield, Ill.: Thomas.

Winick, Bruce J. 1999. “Therapeutic Jurisprudence and the Civil Commitment Hearing.” The Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues 10.


Patients' Rights.

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Matthew 21:1-11 My Commitment to God

Single Persons Commitment To God

In his book Concentric Circles of Concern, Dr. Oscar Thompson wrote that “the gospel moves on contiguous lines – on lines of relationship.”1 The key to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ he said is relationships. This passage addresses a pathway of relationships. First, I have my relationship with Christ.

Then I have my relationship with my crowd. Then, I have my relationship with my community. One sees this relationship on social media. You have your crowd. These are the people who and comment on your posts. Your community is the people with whom you are connected. You will have more connection with your crowd than your community.

You will never reach everyone in your community.

Not all 800 people on my community s or comments on my posts. But I can still reach out to them through what I comment, , write or record. The same is true in the real world. I want to share with you how to identify the five different circles of commitment to God and then help you see how the Bible describes that we reach out to each of these levels.

As Jesus prepares to enter Jerusalem, we see five different decreasing levels of commitment to God.

1. Christ

“When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage at the Mount of Olives, Jesus then sent two disciples, telling them, “Go into the village ahead of you. At once you will find a donkey tied there, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to Me.” (Matthew 21:1–2, HCSB)

Jesus has a commitment to follow God and His plan. He has a unique and complete commitment to God. This is the reason why He quotes Zechariah 9:9:

“This took place so that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled: Tell Daughter Zion, “Look, your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”” (Matthew 21:4–5, HCSB)

As Christ is following His loving Father God with the ultimate level of commitment, He teaches that commitment to His disciples. The only way to follow God is to trust Christ. Therefore, in order for someone to come to God, they have to go through Jesus Christ.

“Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6, HCSB)

A person who wants to commit to follow and trust God can only do so through Jesus. This is the reason why He is called King. This leads to the second circle of commitment to God – a Christian.

2. Christian (Disciple of Christ)

“When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage at the Mount of Olives, Jesus then sent two disciples,” (Matthew 21:1, HCSB)

“If anyone says anything to you, you should say that the Lord needs them, and immediately he will send them.”” (Matthew 21:3, HCSB)

Christians are called to follow Christ. Christians are disciples of Christ. This passage defines a level of commitment that requires faith. These disciples didn’t question Jesus. They had spent enough time with Him to know that if He said something, they should do it because He would provide.

A disciple trusts Jesus by faith. A Christian grows in their commitment as long as s/he is connected to Christ. A Christian decreases their commitment the further away one gets from Christ.

There are three CORE outcomes to being a disciple of Jesus. 

1. I trust Jesus (Matthew 21:1-3)

2. I believe God’s Word about Jesus (Matthew 21:4-5) 

As a follower of Jesus, I trust Jesus because of my experience with Him. However, I also follow Him because of what God’s Word says about Him. 

The Old Testament has many prophecies that speak about one Person. In this case, Matthew refers to Zechariah 9:9. That passage speaks about Jesus coming as a King on a donkey.

The disciples had spent time in the past struggling with how Jesus is to be presented. The people wanted a conquering king. Yet, Jesus knew that He came to be a Savior. The fact that He is King is not in dispute. He still rules and reigns, as the prophecy shows. 

Jesus never stopped being King. Instead, He personally humbled Himself to be obedient to what God wanted Him to do.

God’s purpose for Jesus’ first coming was to pay the sin debt for everyone. 

Yet He comes to Jerusalem on a donkey even though He is King. The Old Testament presents Jesus as being totally obedient to God. Jesus never wavered. He was the committed to God’s purposes. Even though He was God’s Son, Jesus voluntarily submitted to God.

If Jesus, being the most committed Person to God submits to God, then Jesus gives us an example to follow. 

3. I obey Jesus (Matthew 21:6-7) 

The disciples obeyed Jesus. They did what He said. The core not only believes in Jesus, not only trusts Jesus, but they obey Him. 

This is the distinction between the core, crowd, and the community. However, a Christian must also be connected to a group of disciples – which Christ called the church. As He declared:

“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it.” (Matthew 16:18, HCSB)

This brings us to the core group of disciples, which we know as the church.

3. Church (Core group of disciples)

“The disciples went and did just as Jesus directed them.” (Matthew 21:6, HCSB)

The purpose of the church is directed by Jesus. He built the church. He defined its mission. Jesus called us as a group of disciples to make more disciples.

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”” (Matthew 28:19–20, HCSB)

Being committed to Christ requires that I am committed to His form of community – the church. Just as there were two disciples who did the work, I am never alone. I should not distance myself from the local church. A Christian can not be committed to Christ in isolation. I need the church to help me get closer to Jesus.

The commitment of the church is the sum of the commitments of each individual Christian and how they work together to fulfill His mission. This brings us to the crowd.

4. Crowd

“A very large crowd spread their robes on the road; others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. Then the crowds who went ahead of Him and those who followed kept shouting: Hosanna to the Son of David! He who comes in the name of the Lord is the blessed One! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” (Matthew 21:8–9, HCSB)

“And the crowds kept saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee!”” (Matthew 21:11, HCSB)

The crowd is curious about Jesus. This crowd was interested in Jesus because of His miracles. They believed that He could restore the kingdom of Israel. The crowd is not as committed as the church, the individual Christian or even Christ. They are interested in Him. They easily enter into a time of praise for Jesus. But following Jesus takes more than occasional praise and worship.

Yet, the Christian’s commitment requires that I pursue teaching and mentoring individuals from the crowd.

The church reaches out to the crowd and builds goodwill with the crowd to draw individuals closer to the church.

The reason is because the crowd contains many lost individuals who have overcome their individual fear of Christ. These lost individuals come together and collectively take an interest in Him.

The crowd is extremely fickle. The praise Jesus on Sunday, but they curse and condemn Him the next day. The crowd waffles in their commitment to Him. 

What does that say about the crowd? That says that they are exposed to Him. They came when He fed the five thousand. The crowd came when He healed others. They came for the show. As they came, they listened.

But they are a highly influenced group of people. They are easily swayed by one teacher or another. 

The Pharisees influenced the crowd to demand that Jesus be crucified. The commitment level of the crowd is much less than the core. 

The least committed group is the community. The reason is because they are the most ignorant of Him.

Their experience and knowledge of Jesus is the most shallow. 

As this text shows, there is a vastly differently attitude between the crowd and the community. The crowd shows interest. The community shows anxiety.

5. Community

“When He entered Jerusalem, the whole city was shaken, saying, “Who is this?”” (Matthew 21:10, HCSB)

Jesus left Bethphage to go to the city. He goes from the neighborhood to the local community. Jesus’ presence makes the community anxious.

The community as a whole, and the world, in general, don’t know what to think about Jesus. They fear Him because they don’t understand Him. As a result, they won’t understand the Christian as well.

This is why sometimes people are hostile and upset at Christians and the church.

Christ leads the Christian closer to the community. He moves to the community. Christ doesn’t resist the community. He embraces them. Because Christ is the center of relationships, everyone orbits around Him. Therefore, He expects the Christian to build more relationships that reveal Christ to them. Christ uses the church and the crowd to help the Christian reach the lost in the community.

This passage identifies three groups of people with three very different attitudes about Jesus. The core trusted Jesus. The crowd praised Jesus. The community is fearful. 

As the core – the church, we need to be reminded that must balance between two different extremes.

The crowd praised Jesus, but quickly turned on His later. 

The community was fearful of Him and eventually were influenced by the Jewish leaders to call for Jesus’ death. 

Between the fickleness of the crowd and the hostility and ignorance of the community, stands the Christian.

Our commitment is tested.

Will we continue to follow Jesus in the midst of these two extremes? 


My goal as a Christian is to go out from the core to the community. Jesus went out from the core to the crowd, and then the community. Christ wants me to journey with Him in increasing my commitment with Him to reach others who need Him.

I need to ask myself: How am I increasing my level of commitment to God?

In which circles of commitment do I need to increase my level of commitment? Christ, the church, reaching the crowd, sharing one on one with my community? How am I increasing my level of commitment to God?

MCDONALD’S offers “combo meals.” The company has made it easy for anyone to drive up and get a full meal by just saying a number. They have also trained their employees to take orders and always follow up with the question, “Do you want to supersize it?” The question basically implies that the customer is going to choose between taking a regular order or an oversized one.

In the same way, God continually offers His children the opportunity to “supersize” what He is offering to them. With just a little bit more of an investment of obedience and commitment on the part of the Christian, God will make so much more available.3

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