There are few things harder than admitting when you’re wrong and asking for forgiveness. But there’s nothing that builds stronger relationships and stronger character than doing so. And then you can move on – except – for one small thing. Restitution!
I love the legal definition of restitution: Making the other person whole. In other words, restoring them back into the position they were in before you wronged them. If you stole $500 you ought to pay it back . . . and pay it back with interest.
Restitution has its roots in the Bible. “If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, he shall pay five oxen for the ox and four sheep for the sheep . . . He shall surely make restitution” (Exodus 22:1-2).
Zaccheus, a chief tax collector, told Jesus, “Lord . . . if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much” (Luke 19:8). This was restitution in action! Do you remember how Christ responded? “Today salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19:9). The Lord recognized that Zaccheus’s heart had changed because was doing something tangible to correct a wrong.
If you don’t have the means to make restitution, confess what you did to the injured party. Then, set up a repayment plan, even if it’s a little bit each month. Remember the objective of restitution is to make the other person whole.
Learn more about what the Bible says about handling money by ordering the Your Money Counts book or audio book.
I like giving!
Ever wonder why Jesus told so many parables, and the Bible has so many stories? The answer is easy. Most of us learn best through stories that make a point. Just think about the stories in the Bible about giving:
- In Mark 12:41-44 the story was about the poor widow who gave all that she had – a couple of copper coins – and Jesus said she gave more than all the rich folks who were giving tons of their money away.
- Acts 11:27-30 tells us about Agabus who prophesized that “there would certainly be a great famine all over the world . . . and in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea.” Bad times were coming, and the first thing the disciples did was give to the needy.
- In the story about the tax collector Zaccheus, he told Jesus, “Half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much” (Luke 19:8). Right after Zaccheus was introduced to Christ, he became a generous giver.
These stories of generosity are intended to motivate us to be generous. Brad Formsma, a former businessman, is passionate about God’s people becoming joyful givers through modern day stories. He has developed a Web site www.ILikeGiving.org that is loaded with excellent video stories of people who have learned it is more blessed to give than receive.
Brads outstanding book, I like Giving, will also encourage you through stories to grow in your generosity. And as followers of Christ, we need to learn to give more. The average Christian gives only 2.6% of their income and 40 percent of regular church attenders give nothing to their church.
May you and I live our own story of growing in our giving.
Warmly in Christ,