Wayne Hart leads worship and teaches at Wascana Fellowship. Here is the outline of the discussion he led July 7, 2012.
Louisianna State Pennitentiary is called ‘Angola’ because it is built on a former slave plantation, also called Alcatraz of the south. The average sentence there is 93 years. That being said, adding to the sentence for bad behavior is pretty pointless. So a rodeo has been started. And a craft sale. Good behavior required to participate in the rodeo. The public comes for the show and to mix with and buy from the prisoners.
This has reduced violence in the prison significantly. Prisoners feel human again, a sense of being themselves.
Prison sentences are judgements applied to fulfill human justice: penalties for crimes committed.
Those who seek justice often look for restoration, restitution, revenge. Reconciliation is usually low on the agenda.
Justice in human relationships is a not easy to find or administer. For example, in Exodus 18 when Moses’ father-in-law visits he finds that Moses is judging. But the line-ups are long. People are seeking judgements in disputes. His father-in-law proposes having more people trained to help resolve the disputes in order to reduce waiting times and avoid burnout.
Later, in the time of the Judges – a righteous judge and people would turn to God. Then they would drift away. The end of the book says that every man did what was right in his own eyes. We seem to always take that negatively, but was it necessarily?
According to 2 Samuel 8:15 – David executed judgement and justice to all his people.
Rom. 13:3-5- God has allowed or implemented, as the case may be, a system where humans judge and mete out justice and punishment over each other.
I think God’s view of justice is completely different from the natural human perspective.
In Romans 5:12-17 we find the famous statement that ‘all have sinned’ so all will be judged.
Rom 14:10-13- God will bring all to account before himself.
What kind of justice does God mete out to humans?
Rev.20:11-13- He judges both great and small. In human systems, the great stand a good chance of escaping justice. Not so with God.
Human justice often seeks revenge. By contrast, God’s judgement will be merciful, with forgiveness available through Jesus.