One year ago women joined together in the Women’s March on Washington. Fed up with the denigration of others, these women began a tsunami that would continue in marches across America. One woman gave her life in Charlottesville standing against white nationalist. And women everywhere cried #metoo, toppling men in power, and receiving recognition as Silence Breakers in Time’s person of the year.
Now 2018 is here and the question is how to join women of courage in advancing justice?
1. Embrace Courage
Webster defines courage as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.” Another dictionary simply states courage is strength in the face of pain or grief.
I believe courage is the moral strength to look fear in the face and say, “I will not yield to you.” The women of 2017 stood against the fear-mongering, belittling, and power plays that sought to cower and diminish the dignity of all people. These women would not yield.
While we can find courage in one another, I believe it is a glimpse of the Divine spark in us. I believe true courage is rooted in a loving God who cannot abide evil. Courage is God’s gift to us to stand against injustice. For courage to be courage, it must be rooted not in self-interest but in a genuine love for others that cannot stand silent. Courage is courage on behalf of others, not self.
Love of others allows us to overcome fear. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love, drives out fear.” I Jn. 4:18a. Let us march forward in faith, not fear, knowing that God goes with us as we love His people and stand against injustice.
2. Recognize Courage in Others
Courage belongs to all those who dare to hope of a better future. The word encourage is effectively to instill courage into another person. To give support, confidence or hope to someone. As you do this you draw out the courage in the other person. Someone like Amy.
I have learned a lot from my friend Amy. She is a woman of courage. Years ago she was abandoned by her husband and left to care for her three year old son. Like 58% of single moms across the country with a child under the age of 6, she found herself in poverty and struggling. Facing a legal proceeding and an uncertain future she was afraid. But she was also resourceful and resilient. She did not need someone to do everything for her, she needed someone to encourage her – give her hope and the courage needed to move forward. We did not do justice for Amy, we did justice with Amy. Together we found the courage to stand. Listen to her story and like her friend Renee have the courage to rescue and restore a neighbor in need.
3. Find the courage to fight for others
Meet Deborah. She is a corporate lawyer who doesn’t know anything about poverty law. She often wrestled with the idea she could be doing more with her law degree to serve poor neighbors, but lack of time and expertise stopped her. Then a hurricane devastated her city of Houston.
Churches were flooded with request for help. Would Deborah have the courage to enter the need? On her own, perhaps not, but Deborah learned she was not alone. She learned that women across the country were rising up to stand in the gap on behalf of those unable to access justice. She refused to stand by while every second in America someone fails to receive legal help. We partnered with Deborah (below right) and flew her to Chicago so she could visit a clinic, meet other leaders like Amber (left) who will be starting a center in Chicago, Dee who leads a center in St. Charles, and Kim who leads a center in Dundee. You can meet Dee and Kim in videos on our web site – www.gji.org/lawyer.
Be like Deborah.
Deborah is a woman of courage, like another Deborah from the book of Judges. That Deborah was a prophetess and judge. She refused to stand by while people suffered injustice. Deborah used her skills to hold court and help resolve disputes (Jdg. 4:5). She reached out to the warrior Barak to help free people from oppression but he would not go to battle without her (Jdg. 4:8). Deborah did not shrink back but boldly went to battle. Deborah was a woman of courage. She broke out in song over the Lord’s victory setting people free from oppression (Jdg. 5).
Today there are men willing to join the battle, but across the country it is women of courage who are leading the way. These women pray, sing, lead and advocate for justice. Will you join them? Will you encourage someone carrying heavy legal burdens? We provide all the insurance, supplies, support and resources you need to stand against injustice. Will you have the courage to join us?
Justice is embodied as a woman of courage for a reason. Read our most read blog of 2017 to learn why lady justice is a woman. Be a woman of courage in 2018. Stand against injustice. Encourage others. And use your skills to do legal ministry. Visit www.gji.org/lawyer to download our guide and get started today.
Continue the conversation with my friend Amy by joining our new Facebook group – Women of Law and Faith.