What is Justice and how is it really “served”?

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I have been pretty silent on my blog the last couple months.

A lot has been going on but putting it in to words has been beyond my ability. They say grief is a cycle and that you don’t just grieve one thing.

Its called secondary grief.

It’s grieving the loss of the dreams you may have carried for years of a reconciliation some day, its grieving the fact that you will never see that person again here on earth, it’s processing through the guilt of things said or left unsaid.

On Dec. 23rd, the man who helped kill my husband Phillip was sentenced.

22 years in prison…

I can’t help but feel a heaviness and deep sadness,

however it is not over what most people would assume to be normal.

My heaviness is the thought that the two men that did this will be in prison for the majority of their lives. Most would say that this is justice.

To some it is and that is all.

Having been behind bars and facing 25 years myself,

I can tell you that justice is SO much more.

I remember visiting Phillip in prison at one point and I remember the “boy” that sat beside me trying so hard to be a man. He was so young when he went in and he had to become this tough, bad ass person that talked all mean and rough. Yet I remember the love he had for his mother, the tenderness he always showed to her. Prison didn’t make him better, it didn’t teach a young boy how to live a better life or rehabilitate him to understand how to be sorry for the actions that got him there or how to help others.

Instead it taught Phillip a code that was unattainable in real life.

It taught him hate for others that didn’t agree with him, his lifestyle or his choices. It taught him that if you disagreed with his actions you were a betrayer.

I believe that Phillip had a heart and desire to help others. I just know from experience that until you let God in to heal the broken pieces of your heart the pain of the past and things “instilled” in you continually play out in your life.

The prison system, typically, is not a place where people actually see what they have done, identify that it was wrong and strive to become a better person.

So is it really justice?

The life that those young men knew was over the night that they chose to kill Phillip. It makes me sad that there is yet another set of families that will have to spend the next 20 some years going to visit their loved ones… if the family lasts that long.

And I know there will be those who may read this and

say at least their family still gets to see them.

I get that… I really do. More than you will ever know.

This Christmas I can’t help but think of the pastor that talked to Phillip the day before he was killed. I can’t help but think of the change that went on in Phillips heart for him to have even set foot in the church. And I can’t help but think of what Phillip would say when it came to yet another person going to prison.

I know that in this world if a life is taken that there is a system in place that decides what will happen to the person that took that life.

I just wish that in this process of justice that these men’s hearts would be softened to the reality of it all.

I pray that prison would not harden them.

I wish that they would take the time given to them and seek to become better not bitter.

I pray that they would know that no matter what they did they are loved by the God that created them.

I wish that they would take that knowledge and change the world that they are finding themselves in for the next 20 years.

I believe that Phillip would want them to know grace, love and mercy even if it was while they served their time.

That would be the best justice that I could ever imagine.

The definition of Justice according to Dictionary.com had two very good interpretations:

  1. judgment of persons or causes by judicial process

    or

  2. the quality of being just; righteousness,

    equitableness, or moral rightness:

I know that the men have to go before the first definition of justice and they have.

My hope, prayers and desire is that through their time that was given to them that they would truly learn, live out and strive for the second definition!

This Christmas Eve I wish I could tell both men about the reason for the season. I wish I could share 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 with them and have it sink deep down in their hearts creating a change that no prison system could take away.

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

I don’t have this down in my life. I make mistakes, I lash out at the ones I love, I forget or wish that I didn’t have to communicate my thoughts, feelings and hurts in a healthy way. Yet through it all I wish I could continually grasp how much Christ loves me, how gracious God is when I stumble and fall, and how the Holy Spirit in me renews me into His righteousness when I fail.

I want the grieving to be over because it is exhausting. Yet I know it is better to work out the process than to just tell myself time will heal it and attempt to move on. I know that I have to work through all these emotions so that I am not stuck in my own prison while these men serve their time.

God wants that for us all and I know that Phillip is up in Heaven wanting the best justice of all.

Hearts who turn to Jesus.

Minds that seek heavenly good instead of our own ways.

And Souls that trust God to work all things for good.

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8 thoughts on “What is Justice and how is it really “served”?

  1. You don’t know me (yet), but I’ve been reading your posts and been deeply moved by your love for Christ, testimony, and perspective.

    I need a moment to process your words and message as they resonate with me. As I gathered my thoughts, emotions, and memories, I’d like to ask if I can reblog this post tomorrow. Please don’t hesitate to say no. Sorry this is all jumbled and vague, but I do look forward to your reply.

  2. I appreciate you sharing your testimony with us. It is amazing that you are able to see beyond your pain and empathize with the families of the two men. Awesome!

  3. Reblogged this on Izzy-grabs-life and commented:
    Crucified on Calvary, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

    He spoke out for love. Likewise, this courageous blogger (Amanda Lough) stepped outside of herself and her situation to consider the lives of the human beings who murdered her husband.

    I can’t imagine such torment. Such transgression. Such atrocity.

    But Amanda doesn’t focus on that. She chooses to starve the spirit of hatred and feed the spirit of forgiveness on a daily basis. She chooses to question what justice means and how it can be served after what happened. She chooses to question whether she’s willing to kill, too.

    By sharing her story and resolutions — which break my heart as much they give me strength — Amanda has inspired me to reflect (yet again) on my own situation. I hope her words reach you, too.

Reading your responses makes me smile so please leave me your thoughts! =)

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