Restoration or Retaliation:  What Side are You On?

Our culture is so hyper focused on punishment, the crime, judgment and retaliation.  Sure Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson need to be held accountable for their actions.  But what are they learning from the punishments they have been given?  What do their children, wives, and families need to heal?  I can’t image how Rice’s wife feels knowing the whole world has seen her knocked out by her the fiancé. What about Peterson’s son who was whipped?  Is society’s reaction and involvement in “protecting” him actually helping, or is it re traumatizing him every time he or someone he knows sees the pictures of his injuries.

I believe the question WE need to STOP asking is “What type of punishment needs to be dished out?”  Rather, “What can Peterson and Rice do to have their dignity restored while helping their families eal?”

No amount of punishment is going to heal these families or relationships.  Peterson’s boy is always going to need his father.  He is much better off if Peterson can lead a restorative process with him, rather than all of us re posting, viewing, and responding with judgment.  Rice’s wife and child are much better off if Rice’s shows he understands how his behavior has hurt his family and dedicates his efforts to create a safe and loving environment in their home.

We as a culture need to get this!  Punishment may be a part of the process, but it cannot stand alone.  Restoration, repentance, forgiveness, mercy and healing have to be present.  The dialogue has to move from punishment, payback, and judgment to discussing what can these men do to show their families that they are sorry, to ask for forgiveness, to be forgiven, and to move the whole family forward with hope, peace, love and safety?

What are your thoughts?  What can be done by these men to restore their relationship with their families?  I would love to hear your thoughts regarding this question.  Please respond, share and continue this dialogue.  We all need to do our part.