When our oldest daughter was in elementary school, she was in a rotating class. That is, rather than the teachers moving, the students moved – common for middle school and up, but not elementary students. She shared a desk with another girl from the other class.
One day, our daughter came home from school with a message that she needed us to buy some candy bars for her to take the next day. When we questioned why she needed them, she simply said that her teacher told her to bring them.
Hmmmm……… was there a party we should know about? No.
Was there some extra after school project that needed the candy? No.
After we pushed the point a little further, our daughter began to cry, insisting that the teacher had just told her that she had to provide the candy bars.
This sounded like a job for super mom.
So the next day when Jane dropped the kids off for school, she went inside to have a chat with the teacher. Apparently the other little girl who shared our daughter’s desk had tastier snacks than we provided for our daughter, tastier snacks in the form of candy bars. And, eh hem, our daughter had been helping herself to the other girl’s snacks. When the teacher caught her at it, she simply asked for our daughter to replace what she had stolen……an important detail that our daughter failed to mention.
Suddenly all was clear ………
Matthew 5:9 ESV – “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Romans 12:18 ESV – If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
When a person commits a sin against another person, sometimes a little more than, “I’m sorry” is needed to restore peace. Sometime restitution is in order:
“The Bible gives us a good deal of guidance with regard to restitution. The prime New Testament example of this is Zacchaeus in Luke 19:8. There, Zacchaeus, a tax collector turned believer, repents of his former life and he gives half his possessions to the poor (whom he formerly robbed) and paid back all he stole fourfold. This was going above and beyond what was required, often times, by the law. In Exodus 22 and Numbers 5 we find laws concerning restitution. Sometimes the offender is to simply replace what it was he took or destroyed. Other times there was an extra cost on top of the value of the property as a kind of interest or restitution for the trouble of having to deal with lost, stolen, or damaged property.” opc.org
Maintaining peace is one thing. Restoring peace, once it has been disrupted, may take a little more effort. Restitution is a good beginning – it shows that the heart of the offender has changed and that they are sincere in their apology. They are in fact doing the best they can to replace or repair the damage that they caused.
Here’s to a peaceful day. Take a deep gulp from your favorite mug and ask God to guide you in areas where you can help restore peace.