Judges 9; Acts 13; Jeremiah 22; Mark 8

Jeremiah 22:3 Thus says the Lord: “Execute judgment and righteousness, and deliver the plundered out of the hand of the oppressor. Do no wrong and do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, or the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.

I am a “mandated reporter.” That means that because I have contact with vulnerable people, I am legally required to ensure a report is made when physical, emotional, or sexual abuse is observed or suspected. I still remember the first time I had to report abuse to a protective agency. Though there was obvious evidence of abuse, I kept looking for a reason not to report. Instead of focusing on delivering the oppressed and vulnerable, I wrestled with thoughts of retribution, disloyalty, ‘getting others in trouble,’ and even worried that I would not be liked by the abuser. Looking back I think I was trying to save my life as I had formed it; that is, my reputation as one who kept confidences, my image as someone who had things in control, and my need to be a peacemaker. Fortunately, I had professional supervision and did what was right despite my misgivings.

Mark 8:35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.

That first experience and others over the next 15 years taught me to view reporting as a necessary intervention. However, God’s Holy Spirit was the discerning force that knelt with me the day I had to intervene when abuse came close to home. The old fears had returned.  Inertia was setting in. Worry that ruin would result almost caused me to hesitate and counsel wrongly.

Acts 13: 9, 10 Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.”

When Paul was presented with a sorcerer who was perverting the message of God, he did not hesitate, but Paul called out the man and initiated judgment.  I think fear of judgment screeches justice to a halt. Is this the greatest fear: the outcome of godly confrontation or the result of righteous conflict may not lead to salvation but condemnation? Yet I am convinced that our Lord God, the King of Kings will sit on the throne of judgment. I know that I have been given the responsibility of protecting others, and I pray that I will always listen to the Holy Spirit in making decisions that affect the lives of all involved.

I ask, Lord Jesus, that you open my eyes to injustice and that you give me wisdom and discernment in every situation. Give me boldness through Your Holy Spirit to speak these words, “Listen to me, you [insert the names of abusers], That God may listen to you!” Judges 9:7. Not for my sake, but for Your love for the underdog and for Your righteous judgments.

Janet (jansuwilkinson)

All Scripture from: The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version, Trinity Fellowship Church 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, 2002.

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