Sunday February 19 2022

LOTS OF “R” WORDS

Part Two                                                                               Sunday February 12 2022

Remorse, repentance, redemption, restoration, relationship and restitution.

  • Last day we presented the topic ‘Times of Restitution of all things.
  • It was a message that the LORD awoke me in the night to give last week.
  • The week before we discussed the difference between remorse and repentance.
  • We discussed the remorse of King Saul with the true repentance of King David.

Today we discuss The Restoration of Relationship by Restitution.

Restitution – restoring of what has been broken or stolen, and the adding to it.

  • Another R-word is retribution, which is revenge or getting even.
  • Whereas restitution helps to heal the wound, helps to restore love and trust, and also enables forgiveness.
  • For the victim, restitution helps to heal wounds; helps to restore love and trust; enables forgiveness.
  • For the offender, restitution helps one to feel the pain of the damage they have caused and helps to bring to death sinful structures or habits in the offender’s life and writes on the heart the cost of their actions.
  • Restitution helps both victim and offender.
  • It is GOD’s law, established in love, for healing both victim and offender.

The LORD has given us a strategy/technique for helping each other to come to full repentance.

  • Restitution – the giving back more than was taken in order to restore relationship.
  • The passage I will read is directed toward the Jews as they rebuild a physical place, but for us the prophet gives us a spiritual truth.
  • I would like each of us to turn our thoughts to broken relationships and hear what the prophet has to say about such a situation.
  • Isaiah 58:12 states,

“And they that will be of you will build the old waste places; you will raise up the foundations of many generations; and you will be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.”

  • This is a word for us today.
  • There are some here who will build up the old waste places.
  • Think of relationships. Have there been past cherished relationships that have become waste places? These you will build up again.
  • Some here will raise up foundations that currently lie crumbled that will extend for many generations.
  • And if I may add here, extend BACK through many generations to rebuild what lay in ruins.
  • Some here will be called “repairers of the breach” – the breach of relationships.
  • And some will be called “restorers of paths to dwell in” – not paths to walk in but paths to dwell in – relationship building.
  • “And they that will be of you will build the old waste places; you will raise up the foundations of many generations; and you will be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.”

We need to claim it; claim it over your life today!

On a personal level, this is the verse that sent me north. And to love my people.

Restitution – giving back more. Let’s consider Scripture.

And remember also, that Restitution is GOD’s loving way to Restore Ruptured Relationships.

Exodus 22:  some select verses. (NIV)

“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. . .  If a thief steals an animal, be it ox or donkey or sheep and it is found alive the man pay back double. If a man borrows an animal from his neighbour and it is injured or dies while the owner is not present, he must make restitution.”

  • Now, there are many other situations mentioned, but this sample should suffice for our purposes.
  • Stealing an ox and it dies then 5 must be given as restitution.
  • Stealing a sheep and it dies or is sold then 4 must be given as restitution.
  • And the minimum given here is that restitution needs to be double.
  • Joyce Meyer spoke on this often – “double for your trouble.”
  • She often mentioned that if Satan gives us trouble, God will return to us “double for our trouble.”

Leviticus 6:1-5 (NLT) – this echoes today’s headlines.

“Then the LORD said to Moses, suppose one of you sins against your associate and is unfaithful to the LORD. Suppose you cheat in a deal involving a security deposit, and you steal or commit fraud, or you find lost property and lie about it, or you lie while swearing to tell the truth, or you commit any other such sin. If you have sinned in any of these ways, you are guilty. You must give back whatever you stole, or the money you took by extortion, or the security deposit, or the lost property you found, or anything obtained by swearing falsely. You must make restitution by paying the full price plus an additional 20 percent to the person you have harmed. On the same day you must present a guilt offering.”

A public act of true repentance!

  • Well, that seems clear enough – must make restitution by returning all that was taken and adding 20 percent.
  • This would involve nearly the entirety of our present day financial hierarchy.
  • The Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme is just one recent example of what is spoken of in this passage of Scripture
  • This financial catastrophe was uncovered in 2008 – stole $65 B from some 37 000 investors.
  • Madoff apologized to his victims at the sentencing, saying, “I have left a legacy of shame, as some of my victims have pointed out, to my family and my grandchildren. This is something I will live in for the rest of my life. I’m sorry…. I know that doesn’t help you.
  • No, it doesn’t.
  • He was sentenced to 150 years in prison but died there in 2021.
  • His two sons also died – one of suicide in 2021, the other of resurgence of lymphoma in 2014 .
  • Somewhere between 1 and 2.7 B recovered.
  • No restitution – severe consequences in all his relationships.

And today there is Elizabeth Holmes the founder of the company Theranos.

  • Company valuated at 9 B but was based upon lies and fraud.
  • Victims included many political and financial figures in the US.
  • Found guilty just recently and is awaiting sentencing.
  • She still denies she mislead investors. NO RESTITUTION.

Returning to the point of this message, the verses from Leviticus 6 instructs us that if any are involved in such things as fraud, extortion, absconding with security deposits and the like are to repay what was taken plus add 20%.

  • Restitution restores relationship!
  • All of the victims mentioned above have not had relationship restored.
  • All are still suffering, not only financially but with unforgiveness.
  • Their justified anger has never been sated.
  • And you often lock individuals into unforgiveness without restitution.
  • I have often said of people I’ve forgiven, “I forgive them but that doesn’t mean I want to share a cup of coffee with them.”
  • You see, in such cases, there has been no restitution offered me, so relationships are still strained.

Remember GOD’s remedy for restoring what has been broken or stolen is through restitution – returning what was taken or broken PLUS adding at least 20%.

Suppose a friend of mine borrows my lawn mower and while he is using it, it breaks down.

  • (there are those who would just return it broken – “something went wrong with your lawn mower and it broke on me.)
  • How do I feel?
  • Or, He may fix it and then return it to me but now my mower is of less value than it was before. How do I feel?
  • I can forgive my friend but because my mower is of less value my trust in my friend has not been fully restored.
  • Am I inclined to lend him something else?
  • However if he fixes my mower and then buys me a new hedge trimmer he is saying to me “I value you enough to cost myself for you.”
  • We are often so quick to jump into the blame game rather than caring for our friendships.
  • He is saying my friendship with him is much more valuable that mere items.
  • He has restored my love and respect and trust for him – and he can borrow anything of mine at any time he wants to – I may even hope it breaks!

The act of restitution restores relationship! And this is GOD’s heart for us.

Restitution in the New Testament.

Matthew 5:38-42  Now remember the Jews were living under Roman civil law.

“You have heard that it was said. ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’

  • Now, some clarity.
  • Eye for eye, tooth for tooth comes originally from the Code of Hammurabi.
  • This was incorporated in Roman civil law.
  • A similar reference is found in Exodus 21”23-25 which states,

“And if may harm follow, then thou shall give life for life. Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.”

This command does not relate to restitution.

  • Rather it sets the standard for justified reprisals that prevent escalation from occurring!
  • If you poison my cat I cannot burn down your house – that’s escalating the problem.

Now back to our Matthew section.

“You have heard that it was said. ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person.

( now ‘evil’ used here means ‘annoyance, hardship’ and is from the root word meaning ‘great trouble, intense desire, pain and carries the meaning of someone, not evil as we define evil, but someone who has something against us.)

Someone who is in pain because of us.

Continuing then,

“You have heard that it was said. ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whosoever slaps you on the right cheek turn the other to him also.

  • I was reminded in reading this, of the scene from the original Jaws movie, where the mother of the boy eaten by the shark approaches the sheriff.
  • Even though the sheriff had tried to close the beaches he was prevented from doing what was right by the city politicians.
  • Nonetheless the mother hold’s the sheriff responsible for her son’s death.
  • And she strikes out at the sheriff in her pain.
  • The sheriff offers no excuses for himself for deep down he believes she is right and he stands quietly (offering the other cheek?) while she accuses him and vents her rage.
  • He knows that saying sorry won’t cut it.
  • It is my opinion that this scene demonstrates what Jesus is about to say regarding restitution.

Continuing.

“You have heard that it was said. ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whosoever slaps you on the right cheek turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whosoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.”

This has everything to do with restitution.

He is instructing us to “add to” what someone requires of us.

An extra slap, an extra piece of clothing, an extra mile.

  • You see, Jesus was telling the people that they were not under the Roman civil law of eye for an eye, but they were under GOD’s law of restitution!
  • You see, GOD is reminding us of His establishment of Repentance and Restitution in order to fully restore Relationship.
  • When we have wronged someone we ought to “add” to our repentance which results in restored relationship.
  • God has done so much more for the Jewish people, and for us, in order to establish a relationship with them and with us.
  • He first established a relationship with us and He 2ndly maintains that relationship with us by far outgiving all that we could offer.
  • Then we should “over-give” in order to follow GOD’s example to the restoring of relationship.
  • Four oxen for one, five sheep for one, and as a minimum 1/5th (20%) added to our repentance and our asking for forgiveness.
  • This creates a humble heart on our part and a grateful and forgiving heart on our victim’s part. .
  • The restoration of relationship!

We need constant reminding that we “owe” GOD so much more for his maintenance of our relationship with Him.

We must learn to give back much more than the bare minimum!

It should cost us something – not to earn our place – but to demonstrate how much we value our place in relationship.

  • Our place in God and our place in our relationships.
  • I value your relationship, your friendship, so much and I value you enough to cost myself for you.
  • And isn’t this what Jesus did for us!

One further example of restitution in the New Testament.

It’s a familiar account that every Sunday School teacher and student knows. The account of Zaccheus in Luke 19.

  • Being short he climbed a sycamore tree to get a better view.
  • There are some that view this sycamore tree as one that grew sycamore figs.
  • Amos 7:14 tells us that Amos was a grower of sycamore figs.
  • And the husks that the prodigal was feeding to the pigs were these kind of figs as well.
  • He could have climbed upon one of the flat roofs of buildings along the way but he chose to climb a fig sycamore tree.
  • So, according to some, Zaccheus was humbling himself and identifying himself as a ‘fig-pig-feeder.’
  • Regardless, Jesus paused and said,

“Zeccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”

  • It is necessary – from the root meaning to bind or tie to, to put under obligation of the law or duty.”
  • I must stay at your house.
  • Whenever we humble ourselves before the LORD He says, “I must stay at your house.”

So on the way the villagers grumbled that Jesus was going to a hated tax collector’s house.

  • Being aware of this and having come to love Jesus, Zaccheus stopped and, in the hearing of all, said,

“Behold, LORD, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.”

An open public declaration of restitution!

  • And what was the response of Jesus? “This day salvation is come to this house.”
  • Do you see what Zaccheus was saying?
  • He knew the law as would any good Jew.
  • He knew that for fraud a repayment of the amount stolen plus 1/5th was required.
  • But he wasn’t offering 20% he was vowing to repay four-fold!
  • He said he would repay fourfold, the same that GOD demanded for restitution for the loss of one sheep!
  • He is in fact saying, “Lord, I know You are the Good Shepherd Who regards every one of these I have wounded as one of Your sheep; therefore I will repay four times for everything I took.”
  • No wonder Jesus could say, ‘This day I must . . .’

We make forgiveness a cheap grace when we neglect or deny the fullness of its requirements.

The Church must rediscover its authority to require and administer restitution.

Remorse leads to death; true repentance leads to restitution which leads to the restoration of relationship.

May we earnestly seek the LORD’s leading if we feel the urge to forgive.

And in repenting, let us seek the leading of the Holy Spirit and enquire as to any restitution we should add.

For restitution leads to a renewal of relationship.

Let us value each of our relationships to such a degree that we are willing that it cost us something over and above.

May we demonstrate that our friendships are valuable to us, and worth any added cost.  Amen.

 

 

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