Celestin Musekura :: What is the relationship between forgiveness and justice?

  • “There is no justice without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without justice,” says Dr. Celestin Musekura, President and Founder of African Leadership And Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM, Inc.), as well as a co-founder of the Sudan Evangelical Alliance. “Before I forgive something, I have to judge it as evil.” Forgiveness does not mean ignoring a wrong; rather, it requires recognition of a wrong.

    Americans tend to think that punishment is the only way to satisfy justice, when in fact punishment is only one of several ways to satisfy it. “The evil must be punished, but the goal is not just to punish the perpetrator, the goal is to restore the community.” In devastated communities like the tribes involved in the Rwandan genocide, it is essential that leaders come together to give and receive forgiveness as a way of satisfying the requirements of justice. “Justice without forgiveness sets up the process of more revenge.”

    From The Justice Conference 2012.

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