“He has told you, o mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and walk humbly with your God” – Micah 6:8
“Then I said to them, ‘You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with the gates burned. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we may no longer suffer disgrace” – Nehemiah 2:17
“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those that hate you, bless those that curse you, pray for those that abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes your coat, do not withhold even your shirt.” – Luke 6:27-29
Micah said to do justice (not avenge); Nehemiah said lets rebuild the gates (not attack those who tore them down); Jesus said love your enemy and let them take more away from you (not fight to get it back). The Bible, when read appropriately and in context, teaches great lessons.
Yesterday, my church, North Congregational UCC and several other churches had a large rally in Columbus, OH for restorative justice be put in place in our community. Indeed, I think it should go further – statewide and nationwide. Restorative justice is a way of reforming and redeeming the prisoner without putting him or her in a physical jail or prison and suffer the negating consequences as a result of a mistake that put him or her in that situation. For example, non-violent offenders should not have to suffer a prison sentence, but instead, do community service and help the offended party in some way. Another way is that a person who murders another human being should not be given the death party, but life in prison instead.
In case you missed the point, Jesus made it very clear: love your enemy! If they take something from you, give them more to take away! I wrote an earlier article about Jesus’ revolutionary teaching of love and it applies here too. Love. Love. Love. Restore. Restore. Restore.