The sorry state of the apology: Scriptural responses to society's shallow regret
Though the word apology, as we know it, does not exist in the New Testament, an absence of the specific word does not indicate an absence of the concept. Scripture provides lessons for how to do this well and demonstrates that there is more to making an apology than what a press conference can provide....
1. The responsibility is on the offender to initiate the apology....
Heart of Forgiveness
from the entry by Ron Nikkel on pfi.org:
….The fact remains that for many people forgiveness is as controversial a concept as it is an illogical one.
Yet for most of us, even while forgiveness is personally desirable when we desire mercy for our own misdeeds, it is totally abhorrent to us when we are faced with a remorseless person who has deliberately aggrieved or injured us. We even wonder if there is any justification in forgiving someone who doesn’t deserve to be forgiven, let alone when that person persists in an attitude of indifference and impenitence. Somewhat unconsciously we draw a dividing line between ourselves as being among the good and the deserving, and others who are less good and less deserving, not to mention those who are evil and completely reprehensible. And as a result most of us don’t even entertain the possibility that criminal offenders should be forgiven until they have fully paid their “debt to society.”
N.T. Wright on judgment
Whether we are Christians or not, whenever we think of judgment, especially with regards to Christianity, we have this idea of judgment as being that of a wrathful, vengeful God (and as a friend of mine pointed out to me this week, this is where the idea of penal substitution fits in to much evangelical thinking as well). But to people who are suffering and consistently persecuted, the idea of God coming back to bring judgment and justice is good news indeed. They see it as what it is – the setting right of all things.
Healing memory, ontological intimacy, and U.S. imprisonment: Toward a Christian politics of "good punishment" in civil society
....Christian moral theology focused on criminal justice contributes to society by imagining and translating something of the “peaceable” virtues of “good punishment” into better state-sponsored practices of criminal justice.
I hope to persuade civil authorities and the public to pursue forms of criminal sanction that do not function under the alienating spell of retribution as the primary purposeful aim of punishment. For the past several years, I have been developing and refining a theological ethics of good punishment most significantly by way of a reconstructive critique of Stanley Hauerwas’s theological ethics of punishment.
Grace, forgiveness, justice
Recently, we posted an article reviewing the book The collapse of American Criminal Justice. I found a comment to the article posted on the Restorative Justice Online Facebook page to be very interesting:
“I find it interesting that Protestant America, who supposedly believes in free grace and forgiveness, are the first to espouse punishment for its own sake.”
Restorative justice for juvenile offenders
The recent Supreme Court decision in Miller v. Alabama, which concerns the imposition of life-without-parole sentences for juvenile offenders, offers an important opportunity for people of faith to revisit our civic responsibilities with respect to children and youth.
Restorative justice: A biblical view of justice
We are obligated to live justly toward our neighbors, and, in part, that requires that we take appropriate preventive steps to guard his wellbeing and property.
The statute cited in our text above reflects the third facet of the Biblical teaching on justice, which we may refer to as restorative justice. According to the Law of God, when injustice has occurred, whoever is responsible for it must take steps to set things right again.
Transformative Justice and “Cities of Refuge:” Miklat, Miklat Zine (REVISED)
....Another strategy for addressing transgression, mentioned in the Torah, are the Cities of Refuge or Miklat Arei. In theory, a person accused of a serious crime, even a capital offense, could flee to a City of Refuge and live out their life, safe from violent retribution. The Talmud states that these cities should be evenly spaced throughout the land and accessible by wide and well-maintained roads. At every crossroad there should be a signpost marked Miklat (Refuge). The Cities of Refuge were not only a location for individual sanctuary but a vehicle for spiritual expiation and cleansing of society and the land.
A chance to heal unholy wounds
For many years, religious organisations have grappled with the need to improve the ways they deal with abusive behaviour by their own clergy. In my previous role as director of social justice in the Uniting Church during the 1990s, I worked with my colleagues to develop sexual abuse complaints procedures. In that task I gained an appreciation of just how challenging and complex this issue can be.
The measure with which we measure
The decisive factor in overturning not only the ordeal, but the fear of Christians to will the punishment of others, was the inauguration of systems of law—first canon law which began its development in the late eleventh century and, in its wake, secular legal systems. With this epic turning of the moral tide, a third factor was brought into the equation of viewing human weakness: an offense was not only an affront to God and to the victim, it was also an affront to the law. In light of this legal revolution, perhaps the most influential revolution in Western history, the meaning of human acts against their fellows took on a new appellation and gravity. They were not only sins that required forgiveness by a priest in confession, they were also crimes, and the offender had to be punished because he or she had broken the law.