Justice For All
by Judy Webb
“Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry.” (Deuteronomy 22:22-23)
There are many passages in scripture which say much the same thing. This tells me that God is very serious about the plight of the widows and children without father figures to protect and guide them. “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)
In ancient times, widows were at the mercy of family members for even the basics. Women had no rights, they could not own property and once widowed their security was gone. Any children faced the same destitute life as their parent. Single parenting was next to impossible without a kinsman redeemer who would step in and protect the widow.
A kinsman-redeemer is a male relative who has the responsibility to help a relative in need or danger. In the instance of Ruth, because she had lost her husband, she had to work for essential scraps. Read the Book of Ruth to learn how difficult it was to survive as a widow. It is a beautiful love story too.
Isaiah 1:17 addresses this also: “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” These scriptures are timeless in application. Just think of all the single mothers who are raising children without a father figure today. It is imperative that we learn how we can help the children and the overburdened mom.
While we have come a long way since the times of Ruth, who became dependent on charity for survival, we still find many who need help and protection and guidance. Today a widow can survive. But survival is still lonely when you find yourself alone. Even though the widow in our times isn’t usually left destitute, she is still alone. If she is a young widow, there are probably children who need guidance and love as they grow up. This is a ministry we can step into right now.
Show us how to come alongside widows in our community. Some may only need a friend to talk with, while others may need more. Give us eyes to see how we can be a beacon in a dark and lonely world of widowhood.