In Search of Better Stories

Does forgiveness spit in the eye of justice?

The follower of Jesus is regularly able to forgive those people who have wronged him .

He is able to let things go — not carry grudges, not get bitter, or feel compelled to get even. He keeps no list of wrongs that people must pay him back for.Rather, he is able to continue to love people even the tough ones, continue to exercise kindness and generosity towards those that may not deserve it.

Is this not a terrible way to live? Does it not seem that this way cares nothing for Justice?

Only if this perspective is disconnected from the story out of which it comes.

The story says we are the guilty ones. We are the ones deserving punishment and yet the king of the universe has forgiven us. Only because we have been forgiven much are we able to forgive others.

Justice also is not absent from the story because the king took the necessary judgment and suffering upon himself to satisfy the need for justice on our behalf.

How is it justice when the innocent party pays for the guilty? Must not the guilty pay for it to be truly justice?

It is only justice if the innocent party is willing to pay. The story becomes Magnificently beautiful when we discover that the innocent party is willing to pay because of love for us. When Love enters the picture it satisfies justice, destroys hate and breaks the cycle of violence and revenge that so many humans are trapped in. The never ending quest for “justice” is a desert place to live. I love Malala’s honest critique of her beloved Peshtoon people in her book “I am Malala.”

They have no word in their language for forgiveness. Only justice. She laments, that the tribal warfare that has existed for millennia amoung her people, can only forever continue in this closed “justice only” system. You hurt me, justice demands that I hurt you back and so it goes forever. We in the West, don’t raid villages, chop off hands and do public executions as in Malala’s world, but we have our ways of getting even, it’s our version of a “justice only” system and it’s just as bleak. There is a better way.

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