Christians' Beliefs About Justice And Forgiveness

816 words - 3 pages

Christians' Beliefs About Justice and Forgiveness

In order to consider Christian beliefs relating to justice, it is
first necessary to understand the meaning of justice. Justice means
being concerned with what is right or fair. In addition, there should
be equality of treatment and the law judged and applied impartially,
Deuteronomy 1:16-18.

Christians believe that our relationships with others should be based
on what is just and in turn this is based on the belief in a just God
and in the teachings and actions of Jesus. God brought the world into
existence not for chaos, but for order. In the sphere of human
behaviour, order is preserved by customs and laws. However, the law
must be constantly checked and updated for fairness. Respect for
justice may require that particular laws are vigorously contested and
reformed. Where a law or a particular government is severely unjust
and incapable of reform through the political process, Christians may
be called to non-violent disobedience in protest. This may be rare in
the relatively just, open, democratic societies of the West, but may
be necessary and justifiable in some societies. The people in the Old
Testament were very aware that laws should be fair and just. In
Deuteronomy 24:14-22 we are warned, "… every man shall be put to death
for his own sin."

Christians differ in their views of how justice can best be served,
depending on which biblical texts they use, how they interpret these
and which aims of punishment they emphasise. The purpose of punishment
is a debatable issue for both Christians and non-Christians. Some
believe it's objective is protection. Imprisonment keeps criminals
away from the opportunity of crime and so protects society. For
others, punishment will include an element of retribution as supported
by the Old Testament teaching, "an eye for an eye". Yet in Matthew
5:38-48, Jesus challenged this and was radical in how he felt people
should be treated. Again in Matthew 7:1-5, Christians are warned not
to be too hasty in judgement. One of the...

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