Now we lock people away, sometimes for life. Why? What is the purpose of incarceration?
If you Google it you find a lot of opinions. Certain basic reasons come up: Punishment, deterrence, rehabilitation and protecting society are some. Back in the 60's and 70's the psychologists and social workers managed to turn the emphasis in modern prisons toward rehabilitating the criminals and away from punishment.
What is the Christian approach? Too often “Christians” simply adopt the popular approach that the current cultural icons are advocating and ignore the complete teaching of scripture. It is easy to cherry pick verses and ignore anything that does not make you conform with social pressure. Thus with the current push toward rehabilitation we hear the verses about love, forgiveness and turning the other cheek. Those exist. That is part of the balance, but only one side.
There is also the truth that the law and its enforcement are meant to compel the deviate to curb their excess. The Bible does not rule out the ideas of fear and punishment. I am currently reading through Deuteronomy and came across a statement that was repeated at least four times. After bringing up punishment involving the death penalty we come across statements like this:
(Deuteronomy 19:20 KJV) And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you.You see similar words in 13:11, 17:13 and 21:21.
Punishment has a role in justice according the Bible. Fear has a role. The Bible says that recognizing the potential for pain, suffering and paying the price will serve to keep those inclined to evil from inclining.
Fear and punishment do work as deterrents. You may disagree but don’t do so on the basis of the Bible and Christianity.
homo unius libri