Here is what my friend James (who often comments on this blog) recently wrote (www.davedack.com/geter):
Offenders are people struggling with bleak ideas of self-worth. The j.s.(justice
system) sends them to jail where their current patterns will be reinforced
(violence is the path to self-preservation, and they’re just another cog in the
system). The j.s. just erodes offenders even more.
– A better framework says justice begins with needs. The current frame work
goes like this. A law has been broken.
– what does the law require and what will the court accept? A better framework
starts by realizing that crime is a violation of relationships, not the state. We
need to work towards restoring the person, not punishing the offender.
– The better framework goes on to ask who’s been harmed and what they need,
not which law’s been broken and what the court might accept. Knowing their
harm is recognized gives the victim a sense of justice.
– The better framework says the debt is to the victim, not the state. Sending
people to prison does not make right the debt because it sweeps the real debt
under the carpet by detaching everyone from what really happened. The better
framework fills a debt by making the debt right. The offender has liabilities
and obligations. When these are filled, the guilt is removed.
– Through the process of meeting the liabilities and obligations the offender
works in new patterns that build him in constructive ways. He’s immersed in
repairing conflict, not living and surviving in it.
I would be interested to find out how James and others out there would apply this thinking/understanding to the concept of Justification in scripture and perhaps a few other areas of scripture. Although many theological theories abound that do just this task, I think it would be interesting to work at it with just these ideas in mind without consulting these other theories until one has been constructed, after that the theories could be consulted. Let me know what you come up with everyone!