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  • Writer's picturemitchhorton

Restitution and Forgiveness

When a man or woman commits any sin that men commit in unfaithfulness against the Lord, and that person is guilty, then he shall confess the sin which he has committed. He shall make restitution for his trespass in full, plus one-fifth of it, and give it to the one he has wronged. But if the man has no relative to whom restitution may be made for the wrong, the restitution for the wrong must go to the Lord for the priest, in addition to the ram of the atonement with which atonement is made for him (Numbers 5:6-8). Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift (Matthew 5:23-24).

Restitution is something that we don’t hear much about in our day, and it’s an important part of walking uprightly before the Father.

When we sin, and confess our sins, the Father is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). And when God forgives, sin, He forgets what we did, and we can then move on.

However, If our sin and misdeed affects another person, it is not enough to just go to the Father and ask Him only to forgive us! In order to bring closure to that misdeed or sin when others are affected, we must go to that person, and confess that what we said or did was wrong, and tell them we’ve repented before God and asked Him to forgive. Then we must ask them to forgive us for what we did. This is a part of restitution.

If a thief steals what belongs to another, becomes convicted of his misdeed or sin and repents, then he must also give back the stolen items to the person he stole them from. That is restitution. And when our sin affects others, we must deal with how that sin altered the relationship! Don’t just go to God; go to the other person also!

I’m talking here about things that are done out in the open and are known by others. If you’re holding a grudge or have been judging someone, and the person is unaware of this because you’ve hid it well, then this doesn’t need to be confessed to the person. No restitution is necessary. In this instance the person had no idea that there was a problem.

But if you do something and it has harmed another in some way, then part of the repentance for these sins must include restitution.

Of course, there will be times that when we go to another person to ask forgiveness and make restitution that they shun our attempts and turn a cold shoulder to us. In these instances, we should let the person know that we’re open to talk when they would like to and then just let it go. Our responsibility ends where another person’s responsibility begins. Pray for the person, that the Father would work in their heart and that they would become open to reconcile.

Let’s keep short accounts with the Father and with others, and let’s be responsible for our actions and choices and how they affect others!

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