Monday, February 8, 2010

Biblical passages relating to Restorative Justice

Galatians 6:1-2 provides,

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

 

What does “restoring gently” mean?  Martin Luther interpreted thusly

If you see a brother despondent over a sin he has committed, run up to him, reach out your hand to him, comfort him with the Gospel and embrace him like a mother. When . . .  [a person] has been overtaken by a sin and is sorry . . . [h]e must be dealt with in the spirit of meekness and not in the spirit of severity. A repentant sinner is not to be given gall and vinegar to drink.

Luther also writes: 

The Law of Christ is the Law of love. Christ gave us no other law than this law of mutual love: "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another." To love means to bear another's burdens. Christians must have strong shoulders to bear the burdens of their fellow Christians. . . . [W]e ought to overlook the shortcomings of others in accordance with the words, "Bear ye one another's burdens."  Those who fail to do so expose their lack of understanding of the law of Christ. Love, according to Paul, "believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."

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