A Cry For Justice

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

Thursday Thought — The Persistent Widow of Luke 18

Persistent widow begging judgeMany of you have either been through the family court system (such a nice name, right?) or you are still enduring the suffering of that battleground. Not only at the hands of your abuser, but many times through the injustice of the court itself.  And so often these scenarios leave us all with a feeling of real helplessness because, unless you have piles of money at hand, what can we do to help? Attorney fees build and build. Sadly, and maddeningly, there are more than a few attorneys who seem to be in the thing just for the money and not to see justice done. It is not an easy task for an abuse victim to find a competent and honest attorney to take the case. Judges often seem to embrace the “children must always have a relationship with both parents in order to be healthy” theory. Verdicts are rendered that simply are not just, and that after sometimes years of grueling legal battle.

God sees it. God knows. God renders His verdict in the heavens, and one Day He promises justice:

Luke 18: 1-8: And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.  He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God more respected man.  And there was a widow in that city who keep coming to him and saying, “Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.'”
And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says.  And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily.  Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

12 Comments

  1. outofzion

    Thank you- I have been crying out Day and Night- Night and Day for Justice against my Alcoholic enabled by law, enabled by the Church, Enabled by his addict girl friend from High School Abusing still legal piece of paper husband after over 4 years- Robbing my family in Financial Abuse the worst form of Abuse there is. God I pray for JUSTICE! Thank God for you and your Ministry.

    • thepersistentwidow

      Isn’t it unbelievable how the church will enable people like this man? It is grievous. Praying for your deliverance from these trials and justice for you and your children..

  2. rhonda

    God bless you, Pastor Crippen! During the seven dark years I spent in family court trying, in vain, to protect my young son from abuse, this Gospel story meant the world to me. My child died in December at 17 years old. I have promised God that I will work, write, teach, organize and speak out in Louis’ memory so that the cruelty of family court is exposed & changed. The Battered Mothers Custody Conference meets every year in May. There are attorneys, psychologists & people in the media who are working with these aims too. I will copy your post and take it with me to share at the BMCC this year. Keep up the good work God is doing through you. It is so needed, as you know! In the Love of Christ — Rhonda

    • Jeff Crippen

      Go Rhonda! That is a field that needs fixing for sure. Seven years. Loss of your child. You are Job. Blessings on you and the conference and all that you are doing to seek justice.

  3. Round*Two

    Interesting that you posted this! I was just thinking, yesterday, to ask you all a question. How do we deal with the Courts? If that is the best way to ask. I thought it would be interesting to let others know of their experiences and also, let the abused know how to deal with happens inside the court room. I personally felt my abuser was getting one more round, however, the Lord pulled through for me! He (my husband) didn’t get what he was requesting! I’m thankful for that, but there is still more to come….

  4. Still Reforming

    I hadn’t connected this parable with ThePersistentWidow’s pseudonym before. (I can be very slow on the uptake – more often than not.) I love TPW’s screen name all the more now.

    For some reason, I hadn’t realized that the woman in the story is a widow. I wonder then who her adversary might be. I wonder if she’s portrayed as a widow in the parable due to God’s instruction to rightly take care of widows and orphans.

    Perhaps her adversary is someone taking advantage of her situation given that she has not a husband to care for her as God instructed, as many often do in these situations. I’m learning this now myself and praising God for the wisdom He’s granting – as only He can – along the path. He cares for His own.

  5. healingInHim

    “God sees it. God knows. God renders His verdict in the heavens, and one Day He promises justice:…” AMEN!

  6. A friend

    I just wanted to share my experience regarding the court system.

    A little background history first: I was a rebellious teenager and got pregnant out of wedlock right around the time I had accepted the Lord as my personal Savior. My son’s father was a physically abusive man, heavy alcoholic, drug user and dealer, and all in all just a pretty rough guy. I had no idea what I was getting myself into as a young dumb teenager!! As reality started sinking in more and more I was absolutely heart broken that I allowed an innocent child to be born into such a horrendous situation.

    Due to me putting a restraining order on my son’s father after he had threatened to kill me we had to appear before the judge to decide the fate of my son. At the time my son was about 2-years-old. The judge was about to order his father the right to have him every other weekend. I was in shock and said that I didn’t think that was a good idea. The judge was very harsh towards me and said that I was an unfit mother for trying to keep my son from his father. I was a ball of emotions and started crying as truly all I really cared about was my son’s best interest! My son’s father actually spoke up and said “Your Honor she is a very good mom”. The judge dismissed us by saying we needed to figure out visitation arrangements. Whoa, I had no idea how close I was to stepping into the middle of a very bad situation!! Upon leaving that day I had a long drive home. This one thought pressed deeply upon my mind “I can NEVER let my case go before a judge–NEVER AGAIN!”

    From that day forward it was “wise as a serpent, harmless as a dove” mode. With all my bitterness washed away I was able to focus on what was in my son’s best interest–period!! I never one time appeared like I was going to not let my son see his father. I was horrified at the thought of my son going over there as I was building a Christian home for him and the environment at his father’s was anything but a loving Christian environment. But the times my son did have to go over there my heart broke but I prayed for his safety and the Lord comforted this very weary mother. As life happens his dad got remarried, had more children, and got busy with his own life. That decreased visits dramatically.

    We never went before a judge again. My son’s father never felt threatened by me. He couldn’t fight against me as I gave him nothing to fight with. He began to realize that I truly loved my son dearly and all I wanted was his best interest. I expressed how much I wanted my son to have a good home free from fighting parents. I expressed and showed him that I never wanted to put my son in the middle of our problems. I expressed how he is just an innocent child and deserves the best. Thankfully that touched the heart of my ex.

    I also avoided potentially dangers situations. I lived not all that far from one of my ex’s relatives. My ex would be over there for the weekend getting drunk and high, which would result in a visit from him. I would purposely not stay at my home to avoid any conflict. As much as it was possible I tried to be prudent and foreseeth the evil so I could hide myself and my son. It was exhausting as I always tried to stay two steps ahead!

    I give God all the glory and honor for helping me through that situation. My son is nearly an adult and his father respects me and my son has his own relationship with his dad. They are not extremely close but they have a unique relationship and can pick up right where they left off. His dad has since sobered up and, I believe, even gave his life over to the Lord during one of his prison stays. My son grew up in a home never hearing me bash his dad and he never heard his dad bash me either. Instead he heard his mom praying for his dad and expressing that God can save him and change him. How sweet were these prayers that my son and I offered up for his dad.

    I am so thankful God showed a young teenage mother the dangers of the Court system and to do ALL I could do to avoid it at all costs. I’m sorry for those who must enter in. It is heart breaking to say the least!

    [Eds: a few details airbrushed for safety’s sake]

  7. IamMyBeloved's

    Women who deal with abusive men, (not just men who have drinking problems or are argumentative, although that can be awful as well) know that there are fierce dangers going through the Court system with an abuser. We all know how the abuser can create a façade that even deceived us at one point. We know how expert abusers can be at gaslighting. We know they are proficient at lying and will do so on the stand. There are certainly dangers involved, as well as more abuse financially, emotionally and even spiritually and physically, but when it comes to having minor children from the marriage, we all must go through it. We all know that an abuser is not going to “give” anything lightly. We know he will try to point the finger at us, often telling the Court we are crazy or mentally ill, etc. We also most all know that abusers find the most abusive attorneys they can to represent them. We also all know that the abuser’s delight is in dragging us through it, so chances are none of us will escape the Court system. Narcissistic abusers will never let it go. Remember, this is all about their image and how they want to be perceived, so they will fight you on everything that makes them look bad – to the death. Not all abusers have NPD. But most if not all abusers have narcissistic tendencies.

    There are only a few suggestions I will make here and the first is to try to settle things. Make offers, via your attorney, not that will harm you or your children, but things like financially or for material things. God can always replace what you have lost in that. Secondly, ask for psychological testing to be done for the abuser. I would not have previously recommended that, but my abuser came in and said we were all mentally ill and asked that testing be done on me and my children. My attorney said, “abuser too!” and the Judge ordered it. But in the end, it is actually what God used to save me and my children and find out the abuser. So, it can be a good thing. Also, I feared because the psychologist was hired and paid for by my abuser. But don’t fear. Those professionals are not going to lose their businesses for your abuser.

    Keep this verse in mind: “Be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove”. Do not ever allow your flesh to come in and cause you to do something in retaliation. Be above board and always tell the truth. God is on your side. I know how hard it can be to trust God after so much abuse and living in such confusion and being so harmed, especially when the “c”hurch has enable and aided an abuser in harming you. But, do your best. You can trust Him.

    Also, always try to keep his triggering you in check. We all know that the abuser is adept at triggering us. Because the attorney is representing him, they will be on his side and will trigger you as well, especially with their questions of you. They long to do this to you. They know it could make the Judge question you, if you have a bad reaction to a trigger. So, they will attempt to do that to you. Your abuser knows what triggers you the most, and he knows it really well. Remember that. When he appears as the “angel of light” on the stand, just know that your response will be vital. Don’t allow him that power. Keep yourself in check and remember, this is not about truth anymore in the Court room. This is about the Law and only the Law. Most Courts do not really care how abused anyone has been. They can only follow what the Law says. So know it. Read it and be prepared. We all want the truth to be known, but there is a lot to be done to prove the truth in a Court room and if you do not have the finances, then you will most likely only be able to get short snippets in. Everything you say will be challenged by abuser’s attorney, unless you have an expert witness. So just keep your focus.

    I will share my story at some point. For now, I will just suffice to say that God is our help and rescuer. These battles with abusers in the Court system can drag on for years. Financially, women need to have protection from getting locked in by an abuser who has taken all the resources and she has no means with which to represent herself. But God.

    He is always able to provide an attorney that will do the work and be paid later, or work pro-bono. Just keep trusting and walking forward. Push through and remember that satan incites others to do you harm, but that God has all the power. Remember that as the abuser’s attorney comes after you, it is just the lion roaring and they can do you no real harm, if you belong to God. Remember that the material/financial things in this world are only temporal and God can replace “things”, overnight if He wishes to. The fear during these type of proceedings can be immense, because we have already experienced so much terror living with the abuser. But as I walk through all of mine, I just keep reminding myself that God loves and cares for me and my family and He intends to give me the very best. His plans are not to harm me.

    I think that at some point, as victims of abuse, we learned to view ourselves through the abuser’s eyes and not God’s eyes. God has used this heinous process to open my eyes to that and change it. I no longer see God viewing me, like the abuser views me. I am now once again able to see God viewing me, as His Word says He views me – and let me tell you something folks – that is nothing but good. Good, good, good. So, I am looking forward to all the good things God has planned for me – to bless me and never to harm me. I am looking forward to living again. That does not mean my life will not have trials and other dark periods of attack. It just means I have been tried by the worst attacks – those of abuse by someone I was supposed to be able to trust – and will better know how to stand in future trials of life. Who knows! I could end up living in a place that was more beautiful than I ever imagined, but would not have ever gotten there, had I not been so financially deprived now. I am certain Joseph was not feeling so great about his position in life, when he was going through all he went through. But look where God took him! God works in ways we often do not understand. Freedom is the goal. Freedom from abuse and a life of despair. Living again. We will all get there. We are here to help each other through. When you cannot walk, you have Someone Who is carrying you. Let Him do it. There may be a day we need to take your hand and drag you through, but we will if we have to. We are on our way – Just keep walking and keep praising God. He IS for you –

    • Still Reforming (previously newlyanonymous)

      IamMyBeloved’s, I read every single word of what you wrote – clinging to it like a vine. I’m going to print it out to read and reread as I have months (if not years) before me with mediation and most likely at least one courtroom trial. There is a lot of wise counsel in your words that will help me as I face this process, so thank you!!!!!

      From the distinction of truth from law (wow, wise words there) to the financial piece of the puzzle (all true what you wrote), I can glean much, much, much.

      I once sat in on a seminar in business law, and the professor said something likewise valuable. She said, “Imagine you’re the third in line of three speeding cars, and a cop pulls you and only you over to give you a ticket. Is that fair? No. Is it just? Yes.” That caught my attention because justice may not always be fair, but it is justice nonetheless (not perfect justice here on earth, of course, but it will be when we finally all ultimately face the Righteous Judge of all judges and King of kings).

      Your description of what must happen in court re: upholding the law if not truth helps me to regain that perspective. Thank you!!!!!

      • IamMyBeloved's

        I am glad this was helpful to you, SR. Let me give you an example of what I mean regarding truth vs law. Suppose you tell the truth regarding all the abuse that happened in your marriage and you want the Judge to hear you. Chances are, he will hear you loud and clear and agree with you. But according to the Law, it may or may not mean much. Psychological reports mean more. If you want me to elaborate, I will. Just have Jeff contact me and I will send you more info about how to protect yourself and get the best results out of your Court room battle.

        You are right. The only justice that we are guaranteed is both fair and just, is God’s. But even though we may be handed injustice here on earth, which is seen and heard by God, we are still justified by God and belong to Him, so His promises are still true for us. God will work toward our good, any injustice we may be dealt. That is why we can keep moving forward and not fear. It took me a long time to learn that, but I think it is getting pretty solid in me now.

      • Still Reforming

        IamMyBeloved’s –

        Thank you! I will contact Pastor Jeff to do as you suggested. I will thankfully and gladly take all the help and counsel I can get re: this court process now. Thank you!!

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