I was just listening to a song that talked of how we all needed a city of justice (among other things). It made me think of the many times I have thought upon and discussed this subject with others. We tend to like the idea of someone to see that justice is done: A batman, superman, a sincere lawyer etc. But what exactly IS justice, becomes the question?
We can answer that technically and say that something is justified when it is aligned correctly. We can say that justice is served when a wrongdoer suffers for their wrong actions. However while justice can be considered to be fair, is justice wise? Does justice produce the best result?
For example the atonement of Christ actually robs justice of penalising the real perpetrator: Christ (an innocent person) suffers instead to satisfy justice. Now while that may be fair, in as much as that someone has suffered for the wrong, it isn't really what people expect who are looking for revenge. And if I pay someone's fine for them because they can't afford it, is this really justice either?
Courts dispense what they say is justice. Yet nothing is really justified by it: The result to the victim is rarely changed by such action. So what we term justice doesn't make things better. Penalising wrong doers may make them change or think better next time such an idea comes into their heads. But this should be considered as discipline rather than justice. Justice is to bring things back to an equal state. Penalising someone in the claim of doing justice is proposing that two wrongs make a right. But they don't.
A person committing a crime will generally make it the other person's fault that they are committing a crime against them - two wrongs making a right. So what is a court system saying to them where they propose they are out to do justice by making them suffer? They are supporting the thinking of the offender: Using the same logic.
Instead of proposing that some weird version of justice (which seems done more with an attitude that revenge = justice) has occurred because someone has been locked in a cage, we should be treating and declaring the situation as an education program. After all, God declared how real justice works when he declared "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." And Christ declared that this isn't the way a person desiring to become like God should be thinking, but they should forgive (Matt 5:38-39).
Yet we live in a world where Law of Moses type rules need to be instituted for a Law of Moses type people. So I'm not proposing we don't support a legal system. I'm saying that we should encourage better direction in regard re-education of inmates of prisons.
A side issue in this is that too often I hear people use terms about someone saying such things as "he is a bank robber" or he is a "sex offender" etc. It is just as well God doesn't view us that way. In reality the person is someone who has committed a bank robbery, not a bank robber. The latter becomes a label that the person is stuck with even if they are in fact a butcher, baker etc. Otherwise we should all be constantly referred to as "liars" if we have lied at least once in our lifetime.
If someone does something terrible what should we really be looking for? When you hear of a person committing a bad sex crime do you feel a revenge mentality or hope he repents and Christ's atonement covers him so he doesn't need to suffer?
My observation is that people have been mindwashed to desire revenge on wrongdoers in these last decades. Whereas the 70's were about love and helping wrongdoers to correct their lives. Unfortunately I find religious people are the worst offenders when it comes to being judgemental. Yet while we should judge sin as very wrong, our desire for the offender should be for them to change and gain true joy REGARDLESS of what they have done.
People will say, "well, that is alright provided the person didn't commit a ---- crime." In other words they are saying that their own sins are alright but this other person's sin isn't forgivable. WHAT NONSENSE! Christ stated that "ALL sins shall be forgiven" (except blasphemy against the Holy Ghost) (Mark 3:28-29). James states that regardless of what sin you commit you are just as bad (Jam 2:10-11).
Justice naturally occurs without us or God having to do anything. When a person does an evil act that act is permanently in their heart. They will suffer internally until they truly feel they have satisfied the demands of justice inside themselves (Mosiah 2:38). Unless they accept the atonement of Christ through repentance.
Unfortunately man's version of justice, in our minds, seems to get distorted by bad (or lack of good) emotions. I have heard so many talk of justice, yet God doesn't seem to see it the same way people tend to think. The song that I quoted above along with talking of a city of justice also refers to a city of love.
One day we hope to be Gods. Therefore we must learn divine forgiveness through divine love rather than talk of justice.