Sunday, May 16, 2021

Do You Need to Make Restitution?

A Manhattan, Kansas cable company received $300 in cash in the mail, along with an unsigned letter from a man apologizing for his actions and asking forgiveness. The letter-writer said when he was a sophomore at Kansas State University, he had pirated cable TV from an upstairs apartment.
He wrote, “I didn’t fully consider at the time how we were cheating your cable company out of revenues” and that he wanted to commit himself to the teachings of the Bible. The $300 was restitution for the cable TV signals he had taken without paying.
Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector in Israel and became rich by swindling people out of their money (Luke 19:1-10). One day he heard Jesus was coming to Jericho, so he climbed a tree to see over the crowd. Jesus looked up, called him by name and said He wanted to stay at his house. Zacchaeus told Jesus, “Lord, 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). Notice that Jesus did not tell him to do this. Zacchaeus decided on his own to make things right.
Restitution is God’s way of paying back to the rightful owner what was lost, stolen, or damagedThe restitution amount wasn’t equal to the crime, but often much more than the amount taken. The book of Exodus speaks about making restitution for a variety of situations. If a thief stole an ox and killed it, he had to pay back five times as much. If he stole a sheep, he had to pay back four times as much (Exodus 22:1).
If you’ve stolen something or damaged someone’s property, God will show you how much to pay. It will relieve your guilt, heal a relationship, and will be pleasing to the Lord.
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