Making Restitution

Scripture: Leviticus 6:5b, ‘He must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner on the day he presents his guilt offering.’

 

Observations: God outlines a number of things which are not only ‘sin’ but also cause guilt. In these cases it’s not enough to just offer a sacrifice to make atonement for one’s sin, it is also necessary to ‘make restitution.’ This restitution comes in three forms. Firstly, they must return ‘in full’ whatever it was that they stole (v4). This may include something that was entrusted to his care, or stolen (v2), or lost property (v3). Secondly, they must ‘add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner.’ It’s not enough to just return what was stolen, that only restores the physical loss, they must also cover the emotional or financial loss caused by their actions. Thirdly, they must ‘present a guilt offering’ which was a ram without defect (v6). This recognizes that they have not only sinned against their neighbour, they have also sinned against the Lord (v7).

 

Application: When we sin against someone it’s not enough to just feel sorry, or even to just say sorry, it’s important that we prove that we are sorry by our actions. That doesn’t just mean we change our future behaviour, it also means that we make things right and compensate for how we hurt them. That’s certainly easy enough to work out in situations that involve something of financial value, but not so easy when we hurt people emotionally or physically. It reminds us of how much our sins affects others as well as how much it affects God. Next time you sin against someone think about how you could make things right.

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I confess that I often don’t take seriously how my sin affects others. Lord, if I have hurt anyone, help me not only to repent of my sins and seek their forgiveness, but also help me see how I can make restitution to them and compensate them for my actions. Lord, remind me of just how seriously You take sin and help me take it just as seriously. Lord, protect me from the Evil One and fill me with Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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