Psalm 106:3 Happy are those who act with justice and always do what is right!
I caught one of my students cheating on a test. She had been struggling for a long time, barely passing the class. Driven by desperation, she took a chance and lost. Recalling my own failing math grade in high school, I understood my student’s anguish. Together with my department chair, the student, and her parents, we devised a plan that was both just and merciful—and one we were all happy with.
Like the gourmet meal we wanted to prepare but turned out an inedible failure, our human idea of justice fails when it emerges as vengeance. Doing what is right is difficult, but justice is the beating heart of God’s universe, and we should never tire of trying to match our own heartbeat to it. This happens when love and compassion—two essential ingredients of justice—are missing. Vengeance may seem right and justified, but no one ever ends up happy in that scenario.
MOVING FORWARD: Restorative justice is a concept we have been hearing a lot about in the news. Do a little research and see what you think about this method of accountability.