Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Jesus straightened up and said to the woman that was caught committing adultery, “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.” – John 8:10-11
Forgiveness is not saying that the sin did not matter … but rather saying … you matter more than your sin.
Too often by too many, justice is limited to punishment and the fear of punishment, to serve as a “paying of the price” or to serve as deterrence by way of fear. And in the Biblical history of dealing with human sinfulness this undoubtedly played a part. But yet … Biblical justice has also the dimension of “restorative justice” and “reformative justice” and these alloyed the seemingly separate concepts of justice and mercy.
Christ chooses not to condemn the guilty woman and chooses to set her free from her guilt in an act of restorative, reformative justice. “Go now … and sin no more.” And we remember that moment now 2000 years later … the confidence of Christ in the power of mercy in the court of justice.
Oh, this belief in mercy seems foolish in the minds of most. It seems unfair. It seems unjust. And the Church has a history of demanding punitive justice of those who break the rules. Inquisitions, crusades, banishments, burning of heretics … even the Church has demanded that we control people by way of deterrence and a price to pay. It seems to make sense. Yet Christ let a woman walk free in an act of restorative justice by way of reformative mercy. Even from the cross, Christ set the accusers, the mockers, and the executioners free by way of a most remarkable mercy …”Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.
The world will continue to deter certain behavior by way of punitive justice. But those of us in Christ … is there a mercy-filled justice the world does not yet understand.
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz