Human justice tends to over-punish or under-punish. That’s true not only in our courts, but also in our families, our workplaces, and even in our personal relationships. Sometimes we over-punish; other times we under-punish. Sometimes we’re too harsh; sometimes we’re too soft. With over-punishing, the offender is punished too much. With under-punishing, the victim suffers all over again and evil is not deterred. Human justice is so faulty.
Like yourself, I’ve been the victim of painful injustice. I’ve been over-punished. I’ve been punished for things I did not do. I’ve seen evil go unpunished and the innocent punished when they should have been protected. But I’ve not been a perfect punisher either. I’m sure there are times when I’ve over- and under-punished.
It is possible to administer justice in a way that avoids both extremes. Let’s turn to Exodus 21:12-36 where God gives us two principles of justice to help us avoid under- or over-punishing