Justice is in short supply in our world. We need to understand better what it means to seek and to do justice. Justice is not simply about punishing people – it is about putting things right. “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” That’s a quote from the Hebrew Bible. It sees justice as transformative, like a mighty, surging river. Because justice is an intervening power. It has momentum, it overflows, and it brings the possibility for change and healing. Like a river, justice brings life to a parched land. We need to recover something of this transformative vision for justice, and discover how this can irrigate every level of society.
Justice is an expression of wisdom, which builds community, and is seen in right relationships. Seeking justice means seeking wisdom, seeking community, and seeking right relationships.
Where do we find wisdom to live life well? One the Psalms in the Hebrew Bible says: “The teaching of the LORD [in Hebrew, Torat Adonai] is perfect, renewing life; the decrees of the LORD are enduring, making the simple wise.” Biblical law is an expression of wisdom, and it is a journey into wisdom which anyone can join.
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Wherever there is the cry for justice, there is a broken relationship. Doing justice means paying attention to the relationships damaged by crime.
Discover what is meant by ‘Relational Justice’
What does it mean to punish with justice? Lord Woolf – former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales – said that the system which punishes a man must follow him into his prison cell. If we don’t treat people with humanity whilst they are in prison, we have no moral authority to keep them there.
Explore how faith-based groups have helped create community in prison, for those of faith, and none.