Brokenness Is Not The End Of The Story — Restorative Justice Is The End Game
Broken relationships and broken communities have been a hallmark of human existence, since the beginning of our existence.
We were created out of God’s love to reflect the unity of our creator found in the community of God (what we Christians call the trinity). We’re invited into this loving relationship that seeks to serve others and place their needs above our own.
But we broke our relationship with God and then each other. On our own, we’re completely helpless to solve the problem. And, we often perpetuate injustice because we have been unjustly treated.
Apart from the Grace of God found through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross we’re the same as the person we look down upon the most. If you can’t look at the officer who murders a man or the violent protestor who drives over an officer and see yourself, you don’t know yourself and what sin you’re capable of doing — and how destructive you can become in the wrong context.
What's so amazing about Jesus is that he didn't come to simply patch up all the broken pieces of our world (that was an aftereffect of his work that continues to this day), but instead came to give us a new heart with citizenship in a completely different type of kingdom. "The good news is here, the Kingdom of God is near" — to bring heaven on earth. God has done a deep surgery to not simply address the symptoms, but to cure the source of the disease in our hearts and he invites us to receive that cure and participate in this work.
Our gift is the life of Jesus — who died unjustly and horrifically for us who are all guilty of perpetuating and participating in injustices. In response to God's grace to us, we extend that to others. Healing His world is a result of God healing us. When we see someone not helping to heal the world it's probably because they've lacked that restoration themselves (we can't give what we don't have).
For those of us willing to take a stand, we each get to find a broken piece of the world and work to fix it. There were countless injustices Jesus did not address during his time on earth, but through the church and humanity over time (with the work of the Holy Spirit), those injustices have slowly and surely been transformed.
Over the following few hundred years from Christ’s resurrection, Christianity turned the Roman Empire upside down giving rights to women, children, and slaves that had been unheard of before then. When pandemics hit, the Roman leaders abandoned their people. Christians stayed behind and cared for the sick.
And as much as Christians have contributed to the restoration of humanity and society, individual Christians and Christian institutions have been corrupted at times and for seasons falling into the same sin and depravity that has plagued humans since the beginning.
But despite human depravity (even amongst Christians), God has worked through diligent stewards and rebellious people to make significant progress in bringing heaven on earth. Look at injustices from the start of humanity to today, and you'll see how bad it was and how far we've come — but there is still work for us all to do! And, there will always be the work of the heart required of every generation.
What makes restorative justice even possible is that we are all made in the image of God (if not, what basis do we have for human dignity?) We're given moral values and duties which we are responsible for embracing and living out. The scriptures help direct how we can embrace and live out these important directives.
- Speak for those who can't speak for themselves. (Proverbs 31:8-9)
- Rescue the disadvantaged. (Jeremiah 22:3)
- Don't tolerate oppression/violence against the immigrant, the orphan, and the widow. (Psalm 146:7-9)
"Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." — James the apostle and brother of Jesus
Ultimately, we're to love others as Jesus loved US.
So, what will LOVE require of us during this season?
What does love require of YOU TODAY?
- The Staggering Question (Can a sinner be turned into a saint?)
- Listen: The Wretched of the Campus with Eli Lake
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