For Pastors: Forgiveness or Justice?

"Forgiveness or Justice" cartoon by David Hayward
“Forgiveness or Justice” cartoon by David Hayward


The story of the church giving a standing ovation because their pastor who sexually assaulted an underage girl asked forgiveness is just appalling. Not unbelievable. Because it happens a lot!

Like this cartoon suggests, it’s possible for forgiveness and justice to stand together. It doesn’t just mean forgiveness for the powerful and justice to the powerless. It means forgiveness and justice for all!

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5 Replies to “For Pastors: Forgiveness or Justice?”

  1. Please provide the link to the ‘standing ovation’. I would like to read that article, as well as the one you linked to.

    Thanks! Caryn

  2. The subject is being discussed on a few threads at Stuff Christian Culture Likes (FB). The abundance of discussion is showing a lot of interesting takes/views.

    I am finding the concept (by one writer) quite interesting – that is, of separating the two (often merged) concepts: permanently disqualified from ministry, and if they show ownership and repentance, giving forgiveness.

    Then, the concept that, for the sake of the victim, the perpetrator is removed from the prior community. Period.

    There is some discussion on ‘how does the victim recover’ and ‘what is the role of the church in the recovery?’ all good points.

  3. I wasn’t able to see the video. It seems to me there is a cultural issue with the applause and how this all has been handled. How must Jules Woodson have felt about this? And to what extent on the other hand is this another piece of juicy gossip ripe for the appetites of any predatorial sadistic sense of pleasure for a reader or listener that comes hand in had with “sex sells”.

    So for me the two concerns I have is how as a society this kind of thing gets sensationalised and how this gets handled. On the sensationalising – is this creating a culture of fear for women where every man is perceived as a potential rapist with a message the only way to deal with that is to complain and yell at men? If I were a woman being given these, kind of messages, I would feel afraid and I might even be terrified of any intimacy with a man. I think this is misogyny.

    On the issue of how this is dealt with – I find the applause abhorrent, alarming and I think must be damaging to both Jules Woodson (adding insult to injury) and Andy Savage (not allowing the remorse to be affirmed). What I mean by the latter is I think the appropriate response would have been sorrow, a lament not an emotional cover up as I see it.

    Perhaps this is something as a society we need to recover – the practice of lament, of sorrow of weeping with those who weep and who suffer with those who are suffering.

    I seem to remember reading something about if one part of the body suffers, the rest of the body suffers with it – not that it has a party!

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