A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

O Lord, Thou Judge of All the Earth

We know some of our readers are not able to find churches where they feel safe, so we are breaking our ‘no posts on the weekend’ routine to give those of you who aren’t in church a little worship time of your own.

The first scripture reading for the day :) is taken from Isaiah 59:14-15

Justice is turned back,
and righteousness stands far away;
for truth has stumbled in the public squares,
and uprightness cannot enter.
Truth is lacking,
and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.
The LORD saw it, and it displeased him
that there was no justice.

Now for three passages from Jeremiah:

For wicked men are found among my people;
they lurk like fowlers lying in wait.
They set a trap;
they catch men.
Like a cage full of birds,
their houses are full of deceit;
therefore they have become great and rich;
they have grown fat and sleek.
They know no bounds in deeds of evil;
they judge not with justice
the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper,
and they do not defend the rights of the needy.
Shall I not punish them for these things?
declares the LORD,
and shall I not avenge myself
on a nation such as this?”
(Jeremiah 5:26-29)

Everyone deceives his neighbor, and no one speaks the truth;
they have taught their tongue to speak lies;
they weary themselves committing iniquity.
Heaping oppression upon oppression, and deceit upon deceit,
they refuse to know me, declares the LORD. 
(9:5-6)

Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” 
(9:23-24)

Our hymn is ‘O Lord, Thou Judge of All the Earth,’ which is sung to the same tune as ‘Ride On Ride On In Majesty.’
You can find more the details of the hymn here.

1 O Lord, thou Judge of all the earth,
to whom all vengeance doth belong,
arise and show thy glory forth,
requite the proud, condemn the wrong.

2 How long, O Lord, in boastful pride
shall wicked men triumphant stand?
How long shall they afflict thy saints
and scorn thy wrath, thy dreadful hand?

3 Be wise, ye fools and brutish men;
shall not he see who formed the eye?
Shall not he hear who formed the ear,
and judge, who reigneth, God Most High?

4 The Lord will judge in righteousness,
from him all truth and knowledge flow;
the foolish thoughts of wicked men,
how vain they are the Lord doth know.

5 That man is blest whom thou, O Lord,
with chast’ning hand dost teach thy will,
for in the day when sinners fall,
that man in peace abideth still.

6 Unless the Lord had been my help,
my life had quickly passed away;
but when my foot had almost slipped,
O Lord, thy mercy was my stay.

Now let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord, holding the Lord’s words of consolation in our hearts:

I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice. 
(Ezekiel 34:16)

24 Comments

  1. bright sunshinin' day

    This IS the God I know. And may our desire be like His by arising and showing forth His glory in our neck of the woods as we bind the injured, strengthen the weak, speak the truth in love, cling to good and oppose evil.

    A thought: without giving our identity and location on this site, would it be possible to perhaps send our information to one of the ACFJ team and they can assemble and see if anybody lives near someone else (same town or state). If there are some folks in the same local, maybe they would like to get together to strengthen one another face to face, meet for coffee or organize a conference, etc…

    Thank you for “feeding” us with these priceless Words which will NOT PASS AWAY – EVER!

    • Barnabasintraining

      Oo. That is a good idea.

      • BIT, would you like to take on that job? Everyone here trusts you.
        Ha, now I’ve put you on the spot in public! If you want to answer privately, or want me to remove my public question, just email me! :)

      • And BTW everyone, BIT is female. :) She is not a survivor of abuse but got involved in our blog as a supporter of a survivor.

        It had never occurred to me that some readers might think BIT was a man, until a reader mentioned it recently to me in an email. Ah, the assumptions we make, me included!

  2. Lisa

    THANK YOU <3

  3. Healinginprocess

    Thank you !

  4. MeganC

    I love this and I love this idea, Barb!

  5. Ohhhh, this is a lovely idea. I am going with my brother to visit a totally different church in a different city tomorrow, but for a long time I have done without being connected in any local church because I just couldn’t find one I felt safe at. Thank you for this!

    • I want to just put here as a praise and a testimony, as I might share in a safe place church, that I am so grateful and thankful for every one of my siblings. They are awesome and amazing and I am so blessed to see that they have somehow managed to find in their own lives husbands and a wife (we are six girls and a boy) who love them and care for them in mutual respect and godly hearts, so blessed by them being able to move out and trust and find someone who would cherish their hearts and be able to raise beautiful families with, I am such a proud auntie and just so proud of every single one of them. I love you all so much.

      And we are today, all together, rising up and uniting and speaking truth to all the lies that have isolated and divided us and made us each feel alone and as if we had never really been part of the family at all. Each of us are not the black sheep. We have not been alone as we thought. WE ARE THE FAMILY. We belong, all of us together, and as the eldest I feel God is releasing me today to call us in and come together to shine the light on the true bonds that we share.

      And we are all together affirming this as truth: ‘Her children shall rise up and call her blessed.’ – we are, mama. We are. God is speaking that to you and over you right now – you are NOT a failure. you are his precious daughter, and you are blessed. you ARE that Prov. 31 woman. your children, all of us together right now, we are rising up and we call you blessed. Do not read those verses and feel like you fall short ever again. YOU ARE THAT WOMAN. and you are blessed, and you are loved.

      Lord Jesus, you always give me grace. moving on into an ever bigger world, biggest ever sky – this is my faith.

  6. Debbie Price

    Thank You!!

  7. Barnabasintraining

    Amen.

  8. Barnabasintraining

    that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.

    This really speaks to me right now.

    Thank You, Lord, that You delight in justice and righteousness, and practice it in the earth. We have such need of Your justice, as You well know. We long to see You vindicate us and execute Your justice on our behalf and we are grateful that You are perfectly able to do this. We trust in You, O Lord. Our times are in Your hands. Make no tarrying and deliver us from our oppressors; for You are the Lord, You do what is right.

    And Father, I would be remiss if I did not also ask for Your righteousness to be demonstrated to the abusers, whose greatest need at this time is that You work repentance in their hearts. I know not everyone here can agree with me in this at this time, and that is fine. I am able to ask this, so I do. Please deliver these abusive men and women from themselves and Your wrath, and make them to know and walk in Your ways. Make them a blessing where they have been a curse and let this be the work of Your hands. Put an end to their false claims that You have done a work You have NOT done and show that for the lie it is. Rather, do the work such that it is plain to be seen that it is indeed the work of Your hand. Tolerate no substitutes, for the sake of Your glory, and for the sake of those who love You.

    Thank You, Father, that I know You hear me, for I ask in the name of Your Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, risen, ascended, and seated at Your right hand, to Whom You have given all authority and power.

    Amen.

    • Thank you, BIT.

    • Thank you. I am still hoping and praying that God can work some changes in my father’s heart, and I am going to keep believing that it is possible and praying for his grace until I am proved otherwise, but I want to be wary and keep my eyes open too, and not be deceived by false remorse.

  9. I found another passage that seems to fit this theme. Jeremiah 15:15-21

    O Lord, you know;
    remember me and visit me,
    and take vengeance for me on my persecutors.
    In your forbearance take me not away;
    know that for your sake I bear reproach.
    Your words were found, and I ate them,
    and your words became to me a joy
    and the delight of my heart,
    for I am called by your name,
    O Lord, God of hosts.
    I did not sit in the company of revelers,
    nor did I rejoice;
    I sat alone, because your hand was upon me,
    for you had filled me with indignation.
    Why is my pain unceasing,
    my wound incurable,
    refusing to be healed?
    Will you be to me like a deceitful brook,
    like waters that fail?
    Therefore thus says the Lord:
    “If you return, I will restore you,
    and you shall stand before me.
    If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless,
    you shall be as my mouth.
    They shall turn to you,
    but you shall not turn to them.
    And I will make you to this people
    a fortified wall of bronze;
    they will fight against you,
    but they shall not prevail over you,
    for I am with you
    to save you and deliver you,
    declares the Lord.
    I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked,
    and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.”

    I really like the image of the fortified wall of bronze. That is often what survivors find they have to become, in order to not cave in to all the pressure to reconcile with an unrepentant abuser.

    • Awww, that’s lovely. It reminds me of many of the Psalms, which I love.

      I’ve had – this sounds stupid, but as I’ve begun reading the Bible again, I’ve had a little trouble with…sticking to ‘safe’ areas, where I remember that there’s nothing triggering, in the sense that I won’t trip over a verse that used to be used to beat me over the head with. I used to be afraid of God himself, and part of my journey has been restoring my image of God, to God of love, God of mercy, but he has other aspects of his character too, and those things all fit together, but I find myself avoiding areas of scripture that display God’s anger, judgement, etc. It’s just…. I’ve really struggled with letting myself learn to feel safe again, not just with God but his Word.

      So I really appreciate you pulling out some passages that show how God supports the wounded, from some areas that I still tend to avoid somewhat!

      • Kagi, stay tuned. Meg and Jeff S are planning a post dealing with that very topic — when reading the Bible triggers us. You are definitely not alone in having that experience.

      • Barnabasintraining

        You’re definitely not alone in that. I get that sometimes too from other topics. I had to avoid a certain book for over a decade because one passage had been used against me wrongly and that did so much damage. The Lord eventually healed that by leading me Himself to the same passage again at a time where it was rightly applied (being that He was the one applying it :) ), and an encouragement as it was intended to be. But I avoided that book for more than 10 years prior.

      • I have gotten more over the recent years from books and movies, that he has pulled out bits and pieces of and showed me how they can apply to faith, and so I’ve relied a lot on memory of all the bible verses that I was forced to learn, in order to check myself against it, only looking things up in it if I cannot remember any applicable verses. I have a pretty good memory so typically I can, but it has been slow, rough going trying to get back into reading the Bible itself. Just triggers everywhere.

        The two movies that impacted me the most recently were Serenity and Prometheus – specifically, the fact that people have to make their own choices, wrong or right, because doing right only when you are forced to means nothing. The power is in the choice to do it. And likewise, Shaw’s explanation for why she believes the creator race wants her to come and find them and learn about them – she repeats it a number of times in the movie, that her beliefs are just ‘because that is what I choose to believe’. I feel like that is the essence of faith, like the Hebrews verse says, things hoped for and things not seen, we can’t KNOW except by just choosing to believe that this is truth, that God wants us to find him and know him.

        The things she believes at first frankly made no sense to me, and I was puzzled by the inclusion of that statement in the movie, until God kind of nudged me on it, and I realised that all faith is not based on reason, but on choice. God is so big, so infinite and divine that we can never make sense of it all in our human understanding. We can only choose to believe.

      • Kagi,
        As Barbara said, I am going to be writing a post (soon! I’ve been super busy) on getting back into scripture- but I’ll spill the beans early here: knowing that the epistles can sometimes have been brutally used to hurt abuse victims, they can be the hardest to get back into without being triggered. What was recommened to me (and I have now passed on the recommendation twice, once via Megan) is to start with Phillipians, and if you can get ahold of “The Message”, start with that. Phillipians is a really encouraging letter, and “The Message” does a great job of capturing the spirit in which it was written. I’m not a fan of using “The Message” as a source of Bible study long term, but as a gateway back into scripture (and as a running interpretation along side actual translations) I think it is a very useful tool.

      • Kagi, as a completely off topic and low content post, I must ask if you watched the TV show “Firefly” (given that you enjoyed “Serenity”, since it was based on the show). In my opinion, it’s the best show that has ever been on TV. I can’t it has any real spiritual value, but it’s a great time :)

        Actually, come to think of it, River’s story is very much like the story of many abuse victims- the way no one (even her parents) believe she is being hurt because the truth is too inconvenient, and then how it takes a long time and a lot of effort to heal from all of the damage done to her. I may have to go rewatch the series now!

    • Memphis Rayne

      Well this was sure nice to read tonight. I too thought for some reason BIT was male?
      I also REALLY feel thankful that this idea came up!!! I most likely would never attend another fellowship back home, and even if I wanted there are no churches here anyhow…..well there may be? But I have only seen the huge gigantic catholic churches off the squares that are very intimidating inside and out. Well its lovely to be reminded of Gods word, and the hope that lies within it. I am glad you prayed that prayer BIT, because I see that is a saving prayer, and one that gives a person, or people like my kids and I renewed hope….I have to constantly remind myself who is ultimately in control, and I REALLY need to pray for the rest I need in the only place I will ever find it, in Gods truth. = ) Thx!!!

  10. Heather 2

    Wonderful idea. Thank you!

  11. This is WONDERFUL!! Thank you and I would love to see more of these in the future :)

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