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Woman seeking justice in the bible

Will he delay long in helping them? And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? They all went something like this: I should bring along with me a small toy or object to represent something that I strongly desired to have as a child. The moral of the story is that we should be that persistent in our prayers to God, who loves us and is always there to listen to our requests and will eventually give us an answer.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: "Biblical Foundations for Seeking God's Justice in a Sinful World" (TGC15 Panel)

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Jenny Yang: How the Bible Has Informed My Thinking on Justice Issues

Lessons from the Parables: Stay With Me - The Parable of the Persistent Widow

Continuing with the framework we explained yesterday, we want to set ourselves up to be challenged by the widow we read about in the eighteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke. Being open to being challenged means that we make ourselves think, "Maybe what she is saying is right. Maybe I need to question what I think.

We need to understand the story found in Luke against the background of Luke 11, where Jesus teaches his disciples to pray and follows it up with a declaration that if we ask, we will receive: if we who are not always so good find it impossible to say no to our children, much less will God say no to us if we ask. Ordinarily interpretations of this passage on the widow highlight exclusively the need we have to be insistent, to be importune, to be willing to bother others.

This is what we women have done throughout the ages, why we have been killed-because we are insistent, especially when the demand has to do with our children. Today what we women need is to be sure of ourselves, to trust ourselves. Today when we insist on our rights, on our views, on our understandings of who God is and what God is like, we are usually met with derision. Our understanding of God, the ways we image God, come under scrutiny and are considered deficient, not good, even heretical, because they are ours, they are based on our woman-experience, on our woman-knowledge.

So, today, in these very difficult times for women in our churches, we look at the woman in this story, we look at the text and try to understand her, what she thought about herself, about her rights, about her own point of view.

Today, given our situation, we want to look at this text and emphasize not only the widow's insistence but also her character. What kind of woman was she? What kind of woman does it take to insist about justice for oneself, yes, justice for ourselves? This is about what the widow did to get justice for herself, to have her understanding prevail. First, let us look at the position of the woman in this story.

So every detail introduced in the story has a point. This woman is a widow. Widows in the Bible are objects of pity, recipients of favors. Living in a patriarchal society without a male to protect them and to be their point of reference, widows were victims of injustice. They were outsiders, no provisions were made by society for them; they were helpless and defenseless. Widows were overlooked in the Israelites' system of inheritance.

They could remarry. The law of levirate marriage protected only widows who were daughters of priests by obliging the brothers of the defunct husband to marry the widow. But when there were no brothers, the widow was without recourse. The fact that the widow in this story approaches the judge herself indicates that most probably she had no male relatives since, if she did, they would have been the ones to advocate for her. In our world today there are many women who resemble the situation in which the widow found herself.

Today women continue to live longer than men so there are many more widows than widowers. Then there is the fact that today many more women choose to be single than women have in the past; today there is a significant increase of single mothers-all of these women who are not and choose not to be under the protection of men. Like the widow in this parable these women have to speak for themselves, fight for themselves, face the patriarchal world in which we live by themselves, face our patriarchal churches by themselves-and all of this we do unprotected by any man.

Yes, that is what we do, and we do it so often that we forget how much more work it is to be a woman in a patriarchal church, in a patriarchal society. The second thing we notice in this story created by Jesus is that this woman, this widow, was a knowledgeable woman, a woman who knew that the law was on her side.

Her appeal was legal. This is what the words of the judge mean: "Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone He was ignoring either God's law or human law; or maybe he was ignoring both of them. And looking at this text through today's assembly theme we have to say that we need to become knowledgeable about economics, we need to understand the economy of this country and how it intersects with and influences the economies of other countries. It is not beyond us, it is not something we cannot learn.

Just as the widow could learn and understand the law so as to stand up against an unfair judge, so too can we learn about and understand economics in order to denounce injustice. Third, this woman in Jesus' story is a most capable tactician. She carefully plots her strategy. She knows her adversary well: he does not respect the law, therefore, she does not try to reason with him but instead wears him down. No, women are not pests, women are not obnoxious.

The problem is that faced with lack of integrity, faced with lack of respect for the law, faced with lack of willingness or ability to correct injustice, faced with such a situation, women have discovered that the best strategy is to pressure by being assertive, by being persistent, by repeatedly setting forth our demands. Fourth, there had to be a moment when the widow said to herself: "I'm not going to accept the way things are. I'm not going to put up with it.

I will risk being ridiculed, I will risk being called obnoxious. But I will do something about it. She realized that once she knew what was right she had to act on what she knew. This widow realized that to achieve what she wanted she had to do; she was concerned with justice through action. Unfortunately many times we think that it is enough to know, that it is enough to pray, that it is enough to be concerned.

But the widow shows us that we have to do. That is the true kernel of this story. And to do we have to know, we have to have courage, we have to decide, and then act. This widow acts out of moral strength and finds moral strength in acting. Please, do not let anyone refer to this woman as the nagging widow.

She is a woman of courage, a woman of action, and all of that because she knows. My sisters, about ten years ago, I came to Purdue for a National Assembly of Church Women United and I heard a wonderful presentation that challenged me, challenged me, challenged me.

Standing right here on this stage, on this side of the stage where I am, stood a woman of integrity, Marjorie Tuite. Margie, as we called her, talked to us about the burden of knowing. It is a burden to know because once you know you have to act. If not, you will betray yourself, your integrity will be eaten away, you will no longer be a moral person. The burden of knowing is a burden that calls for revolutionary integrity, it calls for consistent renewal of our commitment to follow the message of justice we find in the gospel.

The revolutionary integrity to which knowing calls us is precisely that, a daily being converted to the core of the gospel message: to justice, to doing justice. The widow Jesus tells us about in Luke 18 is a woman of revolutionary integrity.

She knows what is right and aggressively goes out to get it. The fifth point I want to make about this widow is the fact that she takes on someone in authority. You know how that is! You know how much we have been taught to follow those in authority, to go with what they say. One of my favorite bumper-stickers is the one that says, "Question authority. People in authority have to be held accountable; that is what the widow did.

She said to the judge: "It is your job to see that justice is done, vindicate me against my adversaries. How do we deal with people in authority? To hold them accountable is not a matter of ignoring them, disobeying them, or arguing with them.

To hold those in authority accountable we have to be willing to engage them, to enter into dialogue with them. Any person in a position of authority who is not willing to dialogue should not have that position.

But we also have to be open to the dialogue. Both, those in authority and those of us who do not hold such a position, have to listen intensively to each other. We have to listen until our ears ache and our heads are about to explode; we have to listen, attempting first of all to find a point of contact with the other. The first step in this process of establishing dialogue with people in authority with whom we do not agree is to find in what the other person is saying something we understand, not agree with but understand.

Can I at least understand why she thinks that way? The second step in this process is to find something we can agree with, even if it is not integral to what you are discussing but yet has some bearing on it. We all have done that.

Many times in discussions or confrontations we have started by agreeing only on the fact that, "We need to have this resolved by five this afternoon. See, in the first step basic respect for each other is established.

In the second step you begin to see the possibility of a fruitful dialogue because you taste a bit of the satisfaction of agreeing. Now, when dialogue is not embraced, it is either because one of the parties is like the judge in the parable-who seemingly knew the widow was right but either because he was lazy or because he had no respect for her, he did not want to rule in her favor-or dialogue is not embraced because one of the parties knows her arguments are weak, her reasons are not well-founded and this makes her afraid and insecure.

Notice in the parable that the widow is willing to talk to the judge. The text says, "[She] kept coming to him and saying She kept the conversation going. In his case, however, apparently he just said no to her and then simply started talking to himself! My sisters, the widow that Jesus carefully draws for us in this parable is indeed an audacious woman, a woman with the courage to do justice, not just to ask for justice to be done by others. And here, to finish, I want to go back to the passage from Luke 11 to which I referred at the beginning.

Notice that the passage starts with, "Ask and it will be given to you" verse 9. But it does not stop there, it is not only a matter of asking. It is also a matter of doing: of seeking, of knocking. If we do that then we, like this widow, will be women of moral strength, of courage, of justice. We will not only ask for justice but we will be about doing justice. We will do justice because we have responsibly shouldered the burden of knowing, because we are women of revolutionary integrity, mujeres de integridad revolucionaria.

Only then, only then, can we claim the widow of this parable as our sister. Some of my insights in this biblical meditation are based on this powerful little book.

Biblical Justice & Social Justice

Account Options Sign in. My library Help Advanced Book Search. View eBook. University Press of America , M12 22 - pages.

Join us, June at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, for this exciting Summit.

Jesus used parabolic language to relate to common people about deep things and hard topics in faith. A widow is a woman who has experienced great loss of her spouse and who wishes to fill up the emptiness left in her heart caused by the loss. We may also have undergone some losses too, that of people or something precious to us, spirituality, passion for God to do His work, or loss of answers to life and faith. This unjust judge who neither fears God nor has respect for people seems to have all the power in the world.


Yet because this widow troubles me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. Luke I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. Judges And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death;. Luke And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. Matthew But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. Mark ,48 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me….

The Text in Context

He has published academic studies of employment discrimination in Europe. Account Options Sign in. My library Help Advanced Book Search. Christopher Adam-Bagley , Mahmoud Abubaker.

In it, a judge who lacks compassion is repeatedly approached by a poor widow, seeking justice.

Mansfield preached this sermon in conjunction with Restaurant Opportunity Center of New York on the sidewalk in front of the Redeye Grill, where the restaurant workers there were holding a vigil, demanding their rights. He talks about the parable of the widow and the unjust judge, a story Jesus tells, to show that the Bible says that they should demand their rights until they wear the owner of the restaurant down and they are shown justice. While a student at Union Theological Seminary, he worked with the Poverty Initiative, and now continues that relationship by participating in the Poverty Scholars program. He told them a parable about the need to pray at all times and never to lose heart.

17 Bible Verses to Inspire Your Advocacy

Continuing with the framework we explained yesterday, we want to set ourselves up to be challenged by the widow we read about in the eighteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke. Being open to being challenged means that we make ourselves think, "Maybe what she is saying is right. Maybe I need to question what I think.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: God's guidance and direction (Bible verses for sleep)

In American culture, intelligent women who voice their opinions and stand up for justice are labeled bitches. In Luke we hear the story of a tenacious widow seeking justice from an ungodly judge who feels threatened by her persistence, and Jesus uses her as a positive character model for his disciples. Though scholars have tried to tame this woman, even through translation, she maintains a challenge to the hegemonic myth of woman as bitch. As a young, progressive woman in America who has watched women stand up for their rights and struggle to have their voices heard in this country, watching the election was painful. Whether one cared much for Secretary Clinton or not, it must be admitted that she is a woman who has worked her entire life to get to where she is today.

Parable of the Persistent Woman

Justice seems to be an elusive goal. We seek it but it hides. We chase it but it is often beyond our grasp. But, as Disciples women we know that seeking justice is part of who we are. The history of Disciples women is filled with stories of women working to serve the needs of those who have been marginalized because of family situations, economic situations, and even geographic situations. Our biblical sisters have faced some challenging injustices but have heard the voice of God and stood up for themselves and others.

Jan 5, - Take a moment to reflect on God's call to justice and to advocate for the poor. We hope these advocacy Bible verses inspire you as much as they inspire us! -Proverbs ; “Learn to do right; seek justice. Resources · Talking to Congress · Video · Violence Against Women and Girls · Ways to Pray.

In the parable of the persistent widow Luke , a poor, powerless person the widow persists in nagging a corrupt, powerful person the judge to do justice for her. He identifies the hearers — us — with the woman, and the prayed-to person — God — with the corrupt judge, a strange combination. The purpose of the parable is to encourage Christians to persevere in their faith against all odds.

Sermon on the Persistent Widow in Luke 18:1-5

Start free trial. Will he keep putting them off? However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?

16. The Unjust Judge and the Persistent Widow

Question: "What can we learn from the parable of the persistent widow and unjust judge? The parable of the widow and the judge is set in an unnamed town. Over that town presides an unjust judge who has no fear of God and no compassion for the people under his jurisdiction. In the Jewish community, a judge was expected to be impartial, to judge righteously, and to recognize that judgment ultimately belongs to God Deuteronomy —

In that day judges traveled around and held court in tents.

The seat of power changes anyone who sits upon its lofty height, whether by choice or by chance. Judges hold significant power over the lives of people who appear before them in court. Most judges run a tight ship. They command respect and order.

Luke 18:1-8: A Biblical Defense of the “Nasty Woman”



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