Hi Guys! Dee asked this question regarding restitution on the last boarding house post I wrote where I talked about prevalent stealing. I thought to bring it here because it’s an important discussion and the comment section may not have been appropriate for such a long reply. Besides I loved all your contributions on the In-law question I asked ?.
Here is part of her question.
Come to think of it, how does one go about doing restitution for all those wrongs as a Christian?
I believe they really matter esp as many have hurt others to some very deep extents.
What do you think?
Here’s my take.
Restitution basically means to right or correct a wrong done or to make amends. Generally, one can do restitution by confessing to things done in secrets or lies told, forged certificates and falsifications, paying back money borrowed or stolen, returning borrowed stuff, apologise for wrongs done in the past among others, seeking to ameliorate or ease the pain and suffering one has caused.
The scope of restitution is very wide. Restitution is desirable and necessary especially when the Holy Spirit prompts it.
When it comes to wrongs done to people in the past and restitution for those wrongs, I agree with Dee, I believe restitution matters. However I have to be honest, things can become a bit dicey. We may honestly want to restitute but what happens when we can’t find the person, the person may be dead or incommunicado, confessing may break a family apart or lead another to jail etc.
Restitution isn’t straightforward in some instances.Which is why we need the Holy Spirit to guide us before we do restitution. I believe that the Holy Spirit is the first step to restitution. He should prompt, lead, guide and advice. In some cases seeking godly counsel may also be necessary. It is not advisable to just jump headlong into some restitution out of our own counsel. In seeking counsel, we have to be careful to seek Godly counsel. You have to be sure the person understands what you want to do or why. That person should have done restitution themselves at one time or the other, or at least supports restitution so that they do not trivalise an important issue or discourage you.
Let me now be honest, I think it’s impossible to do restitution for everything we have ever done wrong in our life. You cannot return everything stolen or right every wrong because there are some that you don’t even remember. And even if you do, restitution is just not possible. That’s where the forgiveness of God and grace comes in. The first step to restitution is remorse.
Sometimes you remember generally but you don’t remember details.
However, Holy Spirit is no respecter of time. He can remind you of stuff that happened years back that you had even forgotten ever happened. I believe that asking for forgiveness and restitution is important in that kind of case.
Concerning Boarding house, as Dee says, some people have hurt people to some very deep extents. This can happen through the thoughtlessness of youth, false accusations, lies, wickedness as a Senior pangolo, allowing someone take the blame for what you did or outright stealing There are some hurts done in primary or secondary school that stays with the wronged party forever even after they forgive, they can’t forget. They cannot forget and remember vividly because somebody was hurt, punished, disgraced, expelled or suspended etc.
One can restitute by looking for the person if you can remember their name or trace them. This days of social media, almost anyone can be traced.
A simple message of apology or confession would suffice. It’s important to show remorse. You may find out that even though years have passed they haven’t forgotten the hurt or the shame. If it’s a case of stealing something of theirs, you can offer to pay the cash equivalent back or buy it back for them. Ordinarily, they should forgive you or wave it off but you will be surprised to know that some people will collect that money.
If you feel conviction or get the urge to apologise or confess, then by all means go ahead.
Some are of the view that one can pay back the amount of the thing stolen to a Church if one can’t find the person or his family.
As I have said earlier, restitution can be a really dicey topic. The extent one should go to in restitution can be very controversial. Some people believe that after conversion, the grace of God is sufficient. However what happens to those parents whose child was killed by a hit and run driver, that man who was sacked or went to prison because another person lied. How far should one go in restitution and confession? My sister and I didn’t agree on the extent one should go as at yesterday.
Can one restitute fully? The thief on the Cross had no chance for restitution yet Jesus told him he would be in paradise. Does God judge restitution on the time we have left to make things right, his prompting to do so, our desire to do or just our repentance and asking for forgiveness?
What happens when your confession can lead someone or yourself to jail?
Is it right to return certificates which your parent sponsored the education and do not agree to you returning it?
I have some questions that I am yet to find human answers to. Which is why it’s good to always go to the Holy Spirit.
Dee! I hope say I don try. I almost mailed you my reply because I don’t like controversial topics. But I think I know the kind of people who comment here and we can expect intelligent and well thought, non judgemental responses.