This month’s question, submitted by CCJC Board Member Sharon Dunlop:

“Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him.” 

–         Fyodor Dostoyevsky, “Crime and Punishment”

How does the above quotation from Fyodor Dostoyevsky cause you to reflect on our current judicial system and the attitude of much of our population in general?  Where do you see the role of restorative justice and victims’ pastoral care in this statement?

People are not born “bad” but environment and experiences in life shape our reaction to a variety of stimuli.  We all have the capacity to react positively or negatively to whatever and whoever provokes us. 

To try to understand the “why” of the reason an offence has taken place requires us to look at the perpetrator as a human being – as one of “us”.  Many offenders were also victims themselves and ultimately they become victims of the emotions that are evoked from within.  Does this make the wrongdoing “okay”?  No, but we can better understand the “why” and take measures to address the societal injustices that persist in the world today.

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”  Micah 6:8

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