Source: (2004) Journal of Lutheran Ethics (JLE). 4(3). March. Downloaded 12 August 2005.

[1] Traditionally, theology and religious thought has thought of love and justice as the poles between which human interaction must move. Justice punishes or repays, love heals. The relatively recent phrase “restorative justice” attempts something different, which is to think about the ways in which justice might restore. I would like to explore the old polarity a bit more, however, and consider whether when we talk about restorative justice, we are instead talking about justice that is infused with a certain kind of power which exposes the limits of justice itself. I want to suggest this by talking about the act of forgiving, which of all things, should be the most restorative and refreshing of acts. It often is not, however, and I think that is because it is set in a too-narrow framework of the polarities of justice and love, rather than in the broader context of a power within which justice and love are sometime moments.

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