“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Say to the Israelites: ‘Any man or woman who wrongs another in any way and so is unfaithful to the Lord is guilty and must confess the sin they have committed. They must make full restitution for the wrong they have done, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the person they have wronged'” (Numbers 5:5-7, NIV).
Many of the laws God decreed concerned the offering of sacrifices in the tabernacle as atonement for sin. Embedded in these acts of sacrifice were some fundamental principles for maintaining good relationships with God and other people.
The principle for maintaining good relationships with God and other people expounded in this verse is one that I’ve used with my children on several occasions when their conduct towards other kids or adults was inappropriate. You probably have, too!
And, it’s certainly one us adults should follow as well.
God told Moses to tell the people of Israel that when any one of them–man or woman–commits a sin against another person by stealing or embezzling his property and lying about it, then he breaks faith with God and his neighbor. The person who stole or lied should confess his or her sin and make restitution to the person to whom the wrong was done (or a family member) with an additional 20% added to the restitution.
Yes, pay restitution plus 20%!
This still seems like some good advice to follow in maintaining healthy and positive relationships with others and with God: Confess your sin to the one you have wronged and to God and do what is necessary and more to make it right.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16, NIV)