Or: the never ending downward spiral of entitlement to restitution.

We all wrong people, and we all have wrong done to us.

Restorative justice says, ‘you have done this wrong and defrauded me/him/her/us in this way, and you must make it good’.

That’s a bit arbitrary, isn’t it?  How many people have we already let off the hook before we have decided that this particular person has gone too far or is the straw that breaks the camel’s back?  And what about the wrong we have done and not restored?  How rigorously and thoroughly are we prepared to embrace and apply this?  Who are the people of whom we do not demand restorative justice, and why?  Who are the people to whom we are not prepared to make restitution, and why?  Do we somehow see them as not worthy, even though they have been wronged?  Is the wrong we have done them justified in our eyes and the eyes of those to whom we look for approval and support? Is there a certain class who must be made to pay?  The weak, easily made to feel guilty, scapegoat class?

As it stands this next part might be an over-simplification, but everyone who wrongs someone else and is forced to make restitution also has an awareness that they themselves have been wronged, somehow, somewhere, by someone.  Maybe many times and seriously and in a dehumanising way, but they are not the beneficiaries of restitution.

The Bible says ‘Love one another deeply, with a pure heart, fervently’.  It says ‘Be ye kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven you’.  I have been taught that God looks at the cross and says to the repentant sinner, ‘paid in full’.

I think restorative justice makes master/slave relationships between people, and that should not be.  As soon as we tap someone for what they owe us, they can tap us, or someone else.  I think, if my memory serves me right, that the demand for recompense is not in the New Testament as it is in the old.  On the contrary, it says ‘rather suffer yourselves to be wronged’.

I’m not sure what this means, but the Bible says ‘give place to wrath.  Vengeance is mine.  I will repay, says the Lord’.  I’m just wondering if that means that God will repay us for wrongs and losses we suffer, rather than that He will make sure the wrongdoers get their comeuppance.  Maybe He isn’t saying ‘I’ll see they get theirs, they won’t get away with it’, but rather ‘I will see you right’.  Or as He said to someone else, ‘I am your very great reward’.

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