Source: (-0001) Episcopal Church.

Our society’s criminal justice system -- like crime itself -- reflects and embodies a spirit of disrespect, dishonesty, force, domination, and control. The alternative, biblical way of responding to crime -- restorative justice -- is all about relationships. Healthy relationships are those based on respect, truth-telling, compassion (literally, “suffering with”), and solidarity. When a crime has taken place, a crime victim, his or her violator, and the local community are all in a place of great suffering, and whatever their relationships have been, they are now broken. All three parties, and all their relationships, need hope and healing. But this is prevented by an adversarial legal system, a political culture, and a mass media which portray victims and offenders, and those who care about one group or the other, as totally separate groups of people who are one another’s enemies. Jesus Christ -- who embodies the status of both lawbreaker and victim -- breaks down this mythology and binds up the brokenhearted and the broken relationships, if we will let him. He treats all with respect and compassion, and he always tells the truth. Thus he offers to all of us -- when we are victims and when we are violators -- the hope and healing we all need. The community of faith, made up of his followers, is called to do likewise. A major focus of Christian worship, education, preaching, and discipleship must be about helping those who would be his followers experience the beginning of what it means to be in compassion, solidarity, and respectful relationship with the victims, the violators, and the community. (excerpt)

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