Justice for the Oppressed
I’ve been thinking much about justice this week. I’ve encountered the justice system in two separate counties of Illinois and found great differences in how abused women were heard and helped. There does not seem to be a standard of justice when it comes to domestic abuse. Often it comes down to “he said, she said” and the judge will sadly side with whoever is the most believable, the most stable and most charming in the courtroom. Even with an advocate by her side and a folder of physical evidence tucked under her arm, a woman who has experienced domestic abuse can be dismissed in a courtroom. It happens all too often.
I was blessed recently to meet with a high-profile witness in the infamous Drew Peterson case. Peterson was convicted and sentenced for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. His fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007 and has never been found. Peterson has been suspect in her disappearance. Dateline NBC will be airing an interview with him this Friday evening, November 19th at 8:00 pm CST.
Will there ever be justice for Stacy, an obvious victim of domestic violence?
I believe that God speaks clearly to husbands who are tempted to abuse their wives: “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” 1st Peter 3:7
God also warns abusers and husbands in Isaiah 1:15 … “When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.”
Sadly and strangely, often times women who feel unsafe in their homes cannot even find justice or help in their churches. Pastors and elders are trained to counsel women to forgive and be reconciled to their husbands, even if he is not repentant of the harm and hurt he has caused her. I believe that God speaks to the church in this situation also in Isaiah 1:16-17 … “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”
Will there ever be true justice for the oppressed? God’s Word is clear — He will judge the abuser and the one who neglected to bring aid to women in crisis. In Matthew 25, Jesus describes the final judgment and how He will separate the sheep from the goats like a shepherd.
Verse 44-46 … “Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then the King will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
On that day, the oppressed will finally see justice.