Forgiveness - Making Restitution
Gary Chapman says, “In our society, many people believe that wrong acts demand justice. The one who commits the crime should pay for their wrongdoing...They believe that in order to be sincere, the person who is apologizing should justify their actions…For a mate whose primary apology language is making restitution, no matter how often you say “I’m sorry”, or “I was wrong”, your mate will never find the apology sincere.”
We have all heard the saying, “No justice. No peace.” It is a common chant that is used when there is some type of disturbance within a society and a large body of people feel as though there has been the great misjudgment to the flow of peace. We can say that although there may not be any picket signs or chanting while walking in circles, there may be a “no justice, no peace” mentality within our relationships with our spouses, friends, and family. It can come through our actions.
There are times when we will throw fits and put the person that has hurt or offended us through a stretch of “silent treatment” or we may go as far as refusing and/or avoid them. We will choose to run from them while taking the easy way out by letting their presence cause us major discomfort. What do you do when you may have been the one to cause the hurt and/or offense and you apologize, yet you feel as though the brick wall that was set is not moving? The conversations and the repeated, “I’m sorry, let’s go out. I want to make it up to you…” are not working.
When you make restitution with someone you are moving towards an act of restoring or a condition of being restored; restoration of something to its rightful owner; a making good of or giving an equivalent for some injury. It is a legal action serving to cause restoration of a previous state.
Those of us who have been in friendships for more than 5 to 7 years can attest to the fact that we will go through our fair share of ups and downs. The love that is developed through hard times is what keeps you connected to that person when the conflict hits. Sometimes the reconciliation process changes as the relationship matures. What worked a couple of times at the beginning of your relationship, may not work this time and you may feel as though your friendship is more work than “usual”. I would say that this is okay and normal. Why?
As we walk throughout life and we start to mature, our thought processes mature as well. Sometimes within our relationships and friendships, we may do this together or one may grow a bit faster than the other. Statements like “you’ve changed”, “you’re acting weird”, or “I don’t like how you have been acting” will start to surface. These statements can and will cause major discomfort as it is meant to, but the response is what will cause the relationship to blossom! As we have found, making restitution is making good of or giving the equivalent for some injury. This causes work. Most people do not want to work within the relationship because there is a fear of “it may never be the same...so what’s the point of it all?”
The level of injury that is caused to the heart of a relationship will determine the level of work that it will take for the restoration. This is why it is important to have pure motives when building relationships because at the end of the day the true foundation will be shown for all to see.
As it states in 1 Peter 4:7-9, “Therefore be clear-minded and sober, so you can pray. Above all, love one another deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without complaining” (Emphasis added). It’s easy to allow the pain of actions to make us want to give up on our relationships when the tides have changed but LOVE having its diligent work within our hearts will not allow us to do it. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love covers a multitude of hurt, offenses, misunderstandings, misjudgments, excuses, and procrastination of growing together.
Making restitution is simply allowing your love for the person to speak to the love of that person and step in front of the emotions caused by their actions. By doing this action you are moving forward to legally take your relationship back to the origin and build a stronger love for that person. You can also do this by learning their love language (Words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, physical touch and receiving gifts). Just as we stated before, as your relationship matures, both of your languages of love will also grow -- I have learned that you cannot have one without the other. I will write more about this when we wrap up this series. Until then, ponder on these questions:
Can I recall the origin of my friendships? (What are the foundations of our relationship?)
Am I holding someone hostage because I am failing to recognize that one of us has matured and the other is maturing?
Am I choosing not to allow the person to grow because I am not comfortable being outside of my comfort zone and I don’t want to go up?
Has someone told me that “you’ve changed”, “you’re acting weird”, or “I don’t like how you have been acting” and I reacted defensively? Did I not take a look within to investigate why they may have said that from their perspective?
a. Do I care to understand their perspective?
5. Do I love this person deep enough to allow the love I say I have for them to step in front of my emotions?
Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your love that surpasses all of my understanding. Have mercy on me for acting out of my emotions and being defensive towards those who only want the best for me. Allow me to see my relationships from another perspective in order to rediscover why I’m in a relationship with those in my heart. I thank You for allowing Your Son, Jesus, to come down and live His life to cover a multitude of sins (inwardly and expressed outwardly). Let me walk in the same love and forgiveness as I am a living testimony of Your grace and mercy toward me. It is my prayer that I give it as I receive it. Restore and heal all relationships that are in my life that were once broken. I pray that we are legally reconnected and we have redefined the foundation of our relationship for Your Glory in, Jesus’ Name,