Friday, March 26, 2010

Forgiveness is healing

Forgiveness to me is an essential part of peace making, because it is the medicine to our pain.

I beleive that forgiveness is key to healing both the pains in the human journey, but also in criminal law national conflict and internation conflict.

Many people have believe that Justixe can only happen through retributive means - people beleive that the one who does, I beleive that the justice to be truly justice has to be restorative rather than purely about punishment for ones actions. The type of justice Jesus promotes in the scriptures in one that says, yes you are broken, yes you  have done wrong, there are consequences, but I will do all I can to show you that you have worth, that you can recieve restoration.

I think one of the most powerful examples of restorative Justice was the truth and reconciliation commission in South Africa. The commission was set up at the end of te brutal  unjust era of racism in South Africa, and was the brain child of the leader Nelson Mandela and one of the great peace activists, Desmond Tutu. One of the stories was how a lady confronted a secret police officer, who had killed her family members. In response to his brutality, she responded by saying that she would treat him  like family, and show him love and forgivenss. This story made me cry when I first heard it, and showed me that while we need to confront violence and brutality, we also need to allow for redemption as well.

My freind  recently told a story at Mosaic of how him and his brother got caught shoplifting when they were overseas. They were arrested and taken to the jail for thier actions as little kids. They waited for the grilling of thier parents. Thier father came and signed the papers and took them home. On the ferry home, they waited for the oncoming judgement. Their father opened his mouth, and told them how he too had been caught shoplifting and he had to deal with the shame of being caught. He finisehd by saying "lets not tell your mother about this." His act was an act of grace to these two boys, and showed redemption. He confronted the issue, but allowed for wholeness and forgiveness to reign.

Too often we stew, we beleive that punitive action is the best way forward, we do need to confront injustice, and the pain caused by selfishness, greed, wrongdoing, but we have to do it in a way that is understanding, and is forgiving, allowing the person to confront the wrong they have done, but also moving on, showing grace.

This is harder said than done, as I said, I often get caught up on the small things, and let those wrongs stew, I don't know how it would be to forgive a murderer. But I realise the cry of Gods heart is that we forgive and show redemption. This is the only way we can find healing ourselves.

How many conflicts in the world could have been stopped if the injustice was confronted gracefully, realising it is wrong, but also pushing for redemption? How do we confront the wrongs in our lives with grace and long? What resentment do I need to face in my live.

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