Forgiveness and Justice in Reconciliation


What does it mean in today’s cultural milieu, one in which racial incidents are on the rise.

I have been trying to use the word differently in the last bit of time. In every instance, I always explain it with two wings – one is forgiveness and the other is justice. It will not fly if either is missing. Forgiveness work must be engaged, but without justice, reconciliation is impossible.

This last week, Jose Ceniceros (our Children’s Ministry Director), two other YFC volunteers from Immanuel and five teenagers (2 African American and 3 Latino) from our neighborhood experienced a racially motivated hate crime in Coeur d’Alene after attending a church service over there.  Jose was jumped and sucker punched by two white males. After he was assaulted, the two men continued hurling vulgar and racial slurs at our group. Fortunately, Jose after getting punched, got up and started videoing (it is incredibly disturbing to watch).

There were also some inconsistencies regarding the police follow-up, which we are looking into. The two men walked away free. It goes without saying that our crew was traumatized. Our church community grieved last Sunday as Jose recounted the story to us, and I hope that the larger Spokane community would not only join us in grieving, but also in our attempts to follow up with actions of justice.

Don’t try to tell people to just get over it, or just forgive the other person and move on, if there is no justice.