‘But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the Lord,
‘because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.’  – Jeremiah 30:17

artist Michael Carroll

49 Biblical Touchpoints that Illuminate Restorative Themes 

by Ted Lewis

A. Re: Values and Principles

  1. Shalom as means and end of justice (justpeace)
  2. Justice and righteousness as making things right
  3. Covenant justice as a relational framework
  4. Punishment and law geared toward life not death
  5. Mercy and love integrated into justice processes
  6. Truth-telling and trust-building working together
  7. All humanity created in the same divine image

B. Re: Relationships and Community

  1. Solidarity with victims and the marginalized
  2. Dignity of the offender and separation of behavior
  3. Communal dimension of impacts and restoration
  4. Practical reparations and restitution for losses
  5. Atonement as reconciliation (‘at-one-ment’)
  6. Forbearance toward those who repeat offenses
  7. Forgiveness received linked to forgiveness given

C. Re: Story and Resolution

  1. Divine revelation through story form
  2. Divine initiative to enter and redeem chaos
  3. Conflict as a normal part of human life
  4. Climax and resolution built into history
  5. Locating our own stories in master stories
  6. Remembrance of past to transcend the past
  7. Eschatological ‘forward lean’ in reconciliation

D. Re: Heart-zone and Presence

  1. Compassion and empathy for trauma
  2. Power of being heard and understood
  3. Remorse as an opening of conscience
  4. Apology as willing death that gives life
  5. Conversion as a deep cognitive ‘shift’
  6. Non-coercive, invitational divine style
  7. Non-anxious presence (I am with you)

E. Re: Salvation and Transformation

  1. Biblical trajectory of non-violent means
  2. Cruciform pattern for deep change
  3. Church as extension of Jesus’ mission
  4. Vulnerability coincides with responsibility
  5. Healing and formation linked (pain & sin)
  6. Transformation as good overcoming evil
  7. Ultimate hope of “all things reconciled”

F. Mediation and Facilitation

  1. God as supreme model of a bridge-builder
  2. Jesus as the artful, questioning rabbi
  3. Paraklete Spirit as comforter and counselor
  4. Joseph as wounded-healer through dialogue
  5. Psalmists as dignifying lament and anger
  6. James as the ultimate moderator (Acts 15)
  7. Paul as a ‘positivity’ mediator (Philemon)

G. Speech and Listening

  1. Words flow from the fullness of one’s heart
  2. Gossip, slander, half-truths, etc., as ‘triangling’*
  3. “Quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to be angry”
  4. “The tongue of the wise brings healing”
  5.  Silence and stillness as a condition for hearing
  6. “Where two or three gather” for mending conversation
  7.  Power of being seen and heard by the Other (Hagar)

*(relates well to the Jewish concept of “Lashon Hara” or “negative talk” which ties into preventative RJ)

For a brief article by Ted Lewis that introduces RJ and biblical touchpoints, go to page 15 in the middle of this January 2020 Mennonite magazine webpage (below table of contents). “It’s All About Connections.”

For a more indepth read on this topic, read “Theological Reflections from a RJ Practitioner” – Ted Lewis