I was watching a show my kids enjoy and one of the characters was being told by his teacher that he was being put on 900 days of detention. That's pretty harsh punishment and was only done in the story for the comic aspects of it. It was a comedy and is only fiction, after all.
But as I thought about it I wondered: what would happen if the character actually got to like detention after a while? What if he found it relaxing and useful? He could get all of his homework done before going home. He wouldn't have to be involved in after-school activities that he didn't like. He wouldn't have to ride the bus with kids he didn't like. It turned out to help him organize his life and make him a better student. What happened to the punishment? Maybe to continue the punishment, he should be removed from detention!
This brings up the whole idea of what the purpose of punishment is. Is it meant to simply punish and be cruel or is it to teach the person to fit in better and improve? I guess there is a little bit of both and it depends on whether you were personally involved and wanted revenge on the person being punished. If someone hurt or robbed someone in my family, I have to admit it would be hard to forgive them. I am afraid I would be out for revenge. I know that is not the teaching of Jesus. It is more like the Old Testament. I think people fall back on the Old Testament when they want revenge and listen to Jesus when they find it in themselves to forgive. I would like to think that people can be rehabilitated in a well-run prison system and by showing mercy.
I pray for more of the ability to forgive. But in the meantime, don't mess with my wife or kids!