According to Prison Fellowship, Restorative Justice views crime as more than breaking the law; it also harms people, relationships, and the community. So it says a just response must address those harms as well as the wrongdoing. It involves coming together, repairing the damage, and seeking changes within in the offender and the victims. The biblical basis for this approach might well be Zacchaeus. We find in Luke 19 that after meeting Jesus and realizing he had violated God’s moral law by ripping off and cheating the poor, he repented of his sin and vowed to repair the damage he had caused. He said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” Jesus commended Zacchaeus for his pledge to fix the damage he had inflicted by saying, “Salvation has come to this home today,” Zacchaeus’ example can be a model, not only for repairing the damage done by one individual to another, but by fixing a broken economic system that cheats the poor, powerless ethnic groups, and others who have been treated unjustly.
Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr.
Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr. is the founder and chairman of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). Under his direction, UMI has grown to be a leading publisher of Christian education resources for churches in the African American community. Read More