Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Beyond Retribution

1 Peter 2:23 When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the One who judges justly.

Restorative justice cannot manufacture repentance and forgiveness. But by placing a concern for the healing of hurts, the renewal of relationships, and the re-creation of community at the heart of its agenda, it makes room for the miracle of forgiveness to occur and for a new future to dawn. Nothing could be more compatible with the message of the New Testament than this. For without diminishing the reality of evil, without denying the culpability of those who commit crime or minimizing the pain of those who suffer at their hands, and without dispensing with punishment as a mechanism for constraining evil and promoting change, the New Testament looks beyond retribution to a vision of justice that is finally satisfied only by the defeat of evil and the healing of its victims, by the repentance of sinners and the forgiveness of their sins, by the restoration of peace and the renewal of hope – a justice that manifests God’s redemptive work of making all things new.
Chris Marshall, Beyond Retribution: A New Testament Vision for Justice, Crime, and Punishment (Eerdmans, 2001) pg. 284

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