POEM: Forgiving Justice

can no more refute
The demands of
And its claim reguarding the lost
Than can outflank
The necessity of
To open the door for peace
A rendering choice
The difference being
Securing one’s house
Or living in a precarious home

Being a lifelong peacenik, I have happened across numerous conversations along the lines of: which comes first, or peace.  It’s not quite a fair question, but my tells me that like produces like.  produces .  Peace produces peace.  Like many posed as either/or, the truest answer more resembles both/and.  The question is really about and .  Everybody at sometime wants or when they have behaved badly.  If justice were sufficient, then should be denied.  But we want more.  We want peace.  If you feel that justice is sufficient, and that you are willing to forgo peace, then I suspect you may have some unresolved issues.  Of course, can be a great driver of working for justice.  This can be a good thing.  Equally true, anger is a foundation for forgiveness and .  Peace comes from a place rooted in and .  Peace cannot be guaranteed, but it can be denied.  Peace is a gamble.  Peace requires taking a chance.  As said, “Give peace a chance.”  As said, “Peace is possible.”  Peace is not simply a theoretical .  Peace is also rooted in the direct of forgiveness, grace, and .  The sheer of having a that was given to us without our doing often gets eclipsed by the dreadful threats of of that , by whole or piecemeal.  The of makes possible all else in our .  If our life is taken from us, have we lost more than we have been given?  Dare I ask: how can this even be unfair?  As I like to say: life isn’t fair, it’s excellent!  I sense that this question has been answered in the that it is a rare person who would believe that it would have been better to never have been born at all.  It may be equally rare to find folks who can persistently focus on this primary grace making all things possible in our life rather than dealing with the actual or feared losses in our lives of things that we have built or gained at least partially due to our doing.  The latter is the makings of justice-seeking.  The former is the makings of peace-seeking.  Justice-seeking and peace-seeking are not mutually exclusive.  However, achieving peace requires a rooted in the grace of life, which is fragile and uncertain.  In fact, the very fragility and uncertainty of life makes it all the more precious!  I do see peace-seeking as a higher function, encompassing and fulfilling justice-seeking.  Peace-seeking is rooted in , the expression of recognizing grace.  I think of it this way:  To truly believe in justice, you must believe in justice for all.  Believing in justice and fairness only for myself or some in-group (which I happen to belong to) is not justice.  Like Martin Luther King, Jr. so eloquently and simply put, “ anywhere is everywhere.”  With widespread , which no sane person would deny, to seek justice for all means balancing, risking securing justice for yourself and your own in order to achieve widespread justice.  Such a bold undertaking can only be embarked upon with a measure of grace and forgiveness in your .  It is the promise of — real — rooted in the of grace and forgiveness, that is an inescapable element of fulfilling justice.  There must be a peace in our heart, based on this real possibility, that foreshadows the peace and justice that we for.  So, what is my answer to the question: which comes first, justice or peace?  My answer: , and, of course, the corollary of , which is forgiveness.  Forgiveness is an expression of fairness, even justice, that others should be afforded the same infinite and for life that life itself deserves.  We have already “won” by being alive.  The rest of life just needs to be lubricated generously with such a gratitude-filled .  So be aware, life is good!

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