Explain Christian beliefs about justice, forgiveness and reconciliation.
In order to explain the Christian viewpoint in relation to justice, forgiveness and reconciliation it is necessary to define these terms in their broader, and more secular perspective. This will then help to clarify the particular Christian position in this respect.
Therefore, in order to properly consider what is meant by the term "justice," a logical, if not basic, first step is to look up the term in a dictionary. Here, it is defined as 'the quality of being just; rightness; fairness; to treat someone in a fair way'. It is often thought of as the foundation of the judicial system and that it can be achieved by recourse to law. Similarly the term "forgiveness" is defined in the dictionary as 'ceasing to blame or hold resentment against; remit or pardon'. It is the willingness to abandon one's right to resentment and negative judgment towards a person who has unjustly injured us, whilst fostering the undeserved qualities of compassion, generosity, and even love towards him or her. Finally "reconciliation" is defined as 'to re-establish friendship between; to settle or resolve as in a dispute; to make consistent or compatible'. Simply, it refers to the process of changing something thoroughly and adjusting it to something else that is a standard.
With this in mind we are now able to look at each term, in turn, with reference to the basis of Christian teaching, as found in scripture. Referring to the term of "justice" we are encouraged to be just and righteous through the Prophet Amos saying, "...let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness" (Amos 5: 24). However, Christians are not only encouraged to be just through implementing what they themselves determine to be " justice", but are helped to understand its full implication elsewhere in scripture. This is beautifully summarised in Matthew 7: 12, which is known as the 'Golden Rule'. Here it is stated that as Christians 'In...
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