There is a line between justice and revenge that is often crossed. Sometimes it is done deliberately and sometimes grief pushes us over the edge.
Justice is concerned with what is legally and morally right and wrong. Revenge is the “do for do” mentality many of us still have.
When we really think about it, what we preach as a Christian society and what we really practice is a little contradictory.
This obviously points us in the direction of capital punishment and the use of our penal system. After a person commits a crime, be it murder, rape or robbery what comes next? Is justice meted out or is revenge meted out to that individual?
If we are saying “what you have done is wrong” is it right to then do the same thing or to dehumanise that individual and call it justice?
I know the question that everybody throws out there about if it was you wife or daughter that was killed would you be saying the same thing. Quite frankly if it was my daughter or my wife I would not care because the ones I love are gone.
We have a justice system where the punishment given is expected to reflect the severity of the crime. This system does not work. And its failure has nothing to do with how slow it works; it has to do with our unwillingness to forgive.
So we have young men who have gone astray and despite having accepted the punishment for their crime they are continually punished because persons are not willing to forgive. Therefore, long after a prison sentence, and even after rehabilitative efforts, people still call them jail birds.
I have often heard that too far east is west. Sometime we try to be so right that we go wrong. When we get all pious and holier than thou we are really threading in unholy waters and need to be very careful.
The sight of young men in societies restraining a peeping-Tom or burglar or some other perpetrator and dropping some hot lashes in him is not uncommon. Quite frankly we like to see that sort of thing and we are glad to see the individual getting a good skin of licks. But is that justice? Because if the society dishes out justice should that individual have to go to court and jail?
I believe this is a practice we should shy away from because if it is wrong for a person to assault another, assaulting an offender cannot be justice. Remember justice is concerned with what is right and wrong.
Justice, I was told, is tempered with mercy but I find we are becoming more and more merciless, not just as it relates to criminals but to each other in general. It is as if we want what we want and we don’t care about who gets hurt in the process. So we say some very nasty thing and we do some very strange things and then we talk about being Christian.
Christian is not perfect, being Christian is being Christ-like, too many of us are not.