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.