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What is restitution and why should I be concerned with it?  In today's world, the idea of restitution is essentially non-existent.  However, as a child of God, we don't operate by the world's standard of living.  We will not be judged by the world's standard.  Rather, we live according to the principles of God and will be judged by His principles.  Therefore, when a situation arises, we should always be willing to restore unto others.

Definition:  Restitution is the act of restoring something wrongfully taken, or the satisfying of one whom otherwise has been wronged.

Scriptural Examples of Restitution:

  • Luke 19:1-10
  • Leviticus 6:1-7
  • Matthew 5:23-24

7 Principles of Restitution:

  1. Restitution is necessary because of sin.  
  2. Restitution return to the rightful owner what was stolen.
    • In some instances, such as financial or property theft, it's much easier to determine a "price."  In other instances, though, it's much harder to return what was taken, such as reputation because of slander.  In any case, regardless of what was stolen, all effort must be given to return to the rightful owner what was stolen.
    • Some restitutions should be made only with great care and with pastoral guidance, in order to avoid further offense or injury.
  3. Restitution is not just returning what was taken, but going above and beyond to the make a situation right.  We see biblical examples of returning 120% and returning four times the amount stolen.
  4. A good slogan to always consider is... "Make Things Right."  We don't always deal with "black and white" issues.  Sometimes we deal with "gray" areas, meaning that it's not always possible to determine a value for what was stolen.  Regardless, as mentioned before, Christians should always go above and beyond to "Make Things Right."
    • Special consideration should be given to situations that we as Christians need to make right with others that don't necessarily involve restitution.  There are times when we as Christians need to make things right with others, but no sin was committed.  For instance, consider a misunderstanding that hurt someone else.  We need to go make things right with that person, but we didn't necessarily sin in the process.
  5. Restitution doesn't make things right with God.  Only Godly repentance can do this.
  6. Restitution can involve individuals, organizations, businesses and the Church.
  7. When restitution is due, nothing else matters until you make it right.  (Matthew 5:23-24)

Conclusion:  As a child of God, we want nothing to be between us and God and between us and each other.  We should always strive to never hurt or do someone else wrong, but if we do, we have a scriptural mandate to address the situation.  Choosing to not address the situation will only lead to hurt feelings, confusion and chaos, and ultimately losing out with God.  Go the extra mile, make things right with others and live a life full of love for God...and God will be blessed.

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