Restitutio ad Integrum!

by SAMUEL O. TAIWO

“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 to him fourfold


It just ain’t worth it taking from another, and by unjust means, that which does not rightfully belong to you. And there’s absolutely no excuse good enough to exempt a Christian from making his way right with man just like he did with God. Here are a few excuses people try to come up with for not making their ways right with their fellow man:

1. Well, I already did my time in jail”.

The courts dealt with you in whatever way it did because your crime was against the law of the land. And the law of the land is that to which you were answerable when you did your time! This however doesn’t mean so much to the hurt parties as when they see a truly sorry and repentant you…the criminal…seeking their sincere and heartfelt forgiveness! And yes, they may never truly forgive you depending on the evil of your crime. But they’ll at least believe your testimony when you come out to say you’re now a Christian!

2. Oh! I forgot

Wow! Ever thought about how much that statement can really help your case in a law court? You are brought before a judge for robbery or murder, and all you can say in your feeble defence is, “My lord, I forgot that I robbed that bank”, or “so sorry Your honour, I forgot that I committed a crime when I killed that gentleman”. Believe me when I say that the judge will probably end up slamming down that sledge hammer in convicting you of your crime quicker than you ever envisaged!

If the fallible, imperfect, unholy, and equally criminal minded judges of this world cannot bear to hear such lame excuses in the name of justice, how do we expect such excuse to be accepted by the holy, perfect, and infallible God of heaven before whom even our every idle word will never go unaccounted for?

My suggestion? Take a prayerful inventory of your life. Ask the God of heaven to remind you of everything you have to do to make your ways right with men, and to give you the required grace for this. Immediately begin making your ways right with those whom you’ve wronged in the past or present. Call them, write a letter, send an email or a Facebook request if you must…do all within your power to live peaceably with all men.

3. “It is too minute”

No wrong action is too minute to be made right provided the person or persons to whom the action was done is wrongfully offended thereby.

4. “It happened in the past”

There is no statute of limitations in the courts of heaven for an act you wrongfully committed against your fellow man. And until you make it right, it may, like Abel’s innocent blood, never stop crying out against you even to the very gates of heaven!

5. “The person I wronged claims to be a Christian. I’m sure he has forgiven me”

My oh my! Isn’t it just beautiful when we run with the assumption that the one against whom we sinned has cleaned up our slate of wrong-doing by default?

It is one thing to be forgiven. It is another to ask for the forgiveness of the one you’ve wrongfully hurt. And God takes the difference very seriously.

If you forgive me for the wrong I did to you even before I ask you, what you’ve simply done is, to abdicate yourself from the power of the hurt caused by the offence. What I must know is that you have in no way averted nemesis from taking its toll on me, neither have you in any way made the wrong I did to you a right thing.

Why?

Because you do not have such power nor ever will! Nowhere has the divinely ordained law of nemesis ever been abrogated simply by the art of forgiveness. To forgive the wrong done against you even before such forgiveness is sought simply addresses the wrongful hurt you suffered, not the Nemesis provoked by such wrong!

On the other hand, if I ask your forgiveness for something I wrongfully did to you, I am by so doing appealing to the mercy of providence for a second chance at doing to you or to anyone else that which is right. And this mercy will be granted depending on the sincerity of my repentance.

6. “The victim in question is only a child, (or was a child when it happened)

This, my friend, should make you really afraid! If those you wronged are they whose “angels ever behold the face of the Father” and about whom it is said of those that offend them, “it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck”,and he cast into the sea, then you have no choice but to make your ways right with little children.

How do we sometimes offend little ones?

We offend little ones when we repeatedly nag at them, correct them harshly, don’t take their sincere, heartfelt complaints seriously, treat others better than we treat them, expect too much from them almost to the point of unrealistic perfection, deliberately refuse to provide for them that which they would most certainly need in the modern world for the betterment of their future, curse at them when they make a mistake or behave as children would, and the list goes on.

7. “You don’t understand buddy. I’ll be killed or severely hurt if I own up to what I did in the past”

In such instances, the assistance of your local Church may become both vital and necessary. And if, for any reason, you must serve your time in an earthly jail because you were trying to right your ways with those whom you have wrongfully offended, make sure that this is all the hell you’ll have to go through for doing the right thing!

There is however a jail time you don’t want to be doing brother. And it’s called God’s eternal jail where, as it is written, the worm dieth not, and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever!

If, in trying to avoid God’s eternal jail time you lose your right hand or right eye doing man’s jail time, it is worth the bargain!

8. “In all honesty, I didn’t know what I was doing”

Well, that doesn’t mean your brother, or your nephew, or your niece, or your father-in-law, or your best friend, or your husband, or your wife, or even your enemy committed the crime! You may have been drunk or provoked to anger, or felt nervous, or even emotional and as such didn’t know what you were doing at the time. But now you do. Own up to your actions and take full responsibility like an adult! Make your ways right with people!

9. “Well, the victim or party in question did not know what I did”

But you do know what you did. And you know that it was wrong…and the angel that keeps the record already has your deed written against your name!

My advice? Set your record on earth straight…at least, for the sake of your record in heaven!

10. “I cannot get in contact with the victim”

In such instances you are enjoined to give to your local Church that which was wrongfully taken from the affected party, and make the Church aware of this. But if shortly after this you are able to get in touch with the affected party, return to him that which is his.

If however your offence against the party in question is one which requires that you seek their forgiveness, and you either cannot use, or do not use, or are not on any social media, it is advisable to seek counsel from your local pastor.

11. “God has dealt with me already”

God, in standing up to his right to vengeance makes his hand of judgement heavy on people for several reasons. However, Sin is the only transgression which defies the double jeopardy rule especially if it isn’t properly addressed.

12. “God has forgiven me”

Wow! How would you feel if someone you know suddenly disappears with your hard earned fortune, or the innocence of your childhood only to come up years later as a Christian brother claiming that old things are past away? You may end up forgiving the person in question. But like any normal person, you’ll want answers to certain unsettling questions regarding his past behaviour!

Every sin or wrong done against another is an offence against God and the person wronged. And in addressing such sin or wrong like it should be addressed, the forgiveness of both God and the person wrongfully hurt must be sought. In other words, how on God’s green earth can a supposed Christian claim to have a conscience void of offence towards God and Man if such professing Christian seeks only the forgiveness of the Divine while discarding the feelings of hurt suffered by his wrongfully offended brother?

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