Sunday Night Musing: Persistent Widows

In Luke 18:1-9 Jesus tells this story that is often labeled "The Persistent Widow" or "The Unjust Judge." In the parable a widow comes to a judge to ask for justice with some unfair dealings that have happened to her. She keeps asking him for justice against her adversary. Over and over again. The judge admits to being godless and not caring what other people think. Eventually, however, despite his lack of sympathy, empathy, compassion, or justice, he gives in. Her persistence has worn him down. He can't take any more of her, so he gives her justice. Most likely the story should be titled "The Annoying Woman and the Jerk of a Judge," but it's not (it's only Bible publishers that title the sections--they weren't originally there of course).

We're told at the beginning of the passage that Jesus told His disciples this story "to show them that they should always pray and not give up" (Luke 18:1). It's always nice to know the actual intent of a parable. We are to pray often and not give up. And our persistent prayers should be seeking justice it seems.

We're also told that God is not like the judge. He's not uncaring or unjust. He's loving and righteous. 

"And will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8-9). 

Jesus is concerned that when He returns, He won't find faithful people--people praying persistently. Ouch. I see the finger pointing at me. I fail here. 

A) I don't pray persistently.
B) I don't pray persistently about issues of justice.
C) When I do pray persistently it's usually about me (mostly along the lines of "I want to get over this cold" or "Let today go well").
D) I don't pray persistently.

Now, Jesus taught this, I do believe, not to shame or point fingers, but to encourage His followers. God does want to bring justice for His chosen. Seeking justice is a good thing; I will try to be more faithful. 

Orphans, widows, the imprisoned, the homeless, those going through foreclosure, those in war-torn areas, the persecuted, the oppressed, the immigrant, those discriminated against, the hungry, those with sickness and disease. These are all people who need justice. I can be an instrument to help bring that about. Actions are good; prayer is the first step, though.

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