One of my favorite Bible passages is Isaiah 58. In this chapter God tells what is considered to be a “true fast”— “Is this not the kind of fast I desire–To loose every bond of injustice, untie the knots of violent dealings, to set the oppressed free, and break every yoke.” This is exactly the work we are doing at JAMLAC. Consider the words of a recent client Lila.
“I still love him and I don’t want to hurt him. But I have to get our children out of this situation and make sure they are OK.”
This is what Lila said to Elizabeth, her JAMLAC attorney, and what she told the judge at the final orders hearing for her legal separation. When Lila came to JAMLAC, she was in an oppressive and dangerous situation. Her husband, an alcoholic, had gone off the deep end, running up significant debt, gambling away family resources, and putting their family’s well-being in danger. He came home drunk one night and woke her and the children up, yelling and threatening them. Lila had to leave the home with the children and find an alternative place to live.
Her church found them a place to live, helped with rent and other living expenses, and referred her to JAMLAC.
Many people in our community are “bound by wrongdoing” and caught in “knots of violent dealing.” For many folks, like Lila, this is a result of domestic violence. Sometimes, people are bound and stuck by the confusing legal system. They are bound by financial reliance on their abusive spouse. Like Lila, many are under the oppressive yoke of an unhealthy and dangerous partner who is systematically destroying their lives and the lives of their children. Others are suffering under the weight of immigration laws and unfair treatment in the legal system. These are the people JAMLAC is coming along side with compassionate, culturally sensitive, trauma informed legal representation.
On many occasions, Elizabeth cried with Lila in their meetings—offering her both excellent legal representation and emotional support. Lila asked Elizabeth on a number of occasions, “Is this the right decision?” As it turns out, it seems to be. Lila’s emotional and financial burdens have been lifted, allowing her to move forward in her life and protect and provide for the children.
The “knots of violent dealing” that bound her and the children have been untied. This is how YOU, along with JAMLAC, seek justice for people who are struggling with poverty and oppression. At this season, I am reminded of Jesus’ words in Luke 4 as he read from the prophet Isaiah affirming that He came to proclaim good news to the poor . . . to set the oppressed free . . . This is the work we are joining our Savior in—and the work we invite you to join as well.
Make a big difference in the life of a Family
Please consider joining us in this work of “loosing every bond of injustice, untying the knots of violent dealings, setting the oppressed free, and breaking every yoke” in your year-end giving.