Restitution part of repentance

"There are many scriptures which show that restitution is an important part of true repentance," Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then of the Council of the Twelve, wrote in The Miracle of Forgiveness. "Some of them even go so far as to prescribe the amount of restitution which should be made in return for a wrong."

He noted the children of Israel were given specific ways to make restitution for a stolen ox, a field or vineyard eaten by animals, or fire that destroys another's crop. (See Ex. 22:1-6.)"It is true that Moses was concerned with governing and controlling a population larger than many of our modern cities, and to that extent some think of his laws as being secular in purport," Elder Kimball wrote. "But observe that in [Lev. 6:2-5T the Lord equates actions against one's neighbor with committing `a trespass against the Lord' or, as He goes on to say, with sin. Thus the restoration spoken of was to be not merely a legal requirement for the maintenance of earthly justice but also part of the process of repentance from sin."

Elder Kimball observed that sometimes making complete restitution is impossible. "There are some sins for which no adequate restitution can be made, and others for which only partial restitution is possible. . . .

"Perhaps the reason murder is an unforgivable sin is that, once having taken a life whether that life be innocent or reprobate - the life-taker cannot restore it. . . . Those who lose their possessions may be able to recover their wealth. Those defamed may still be able to prove themselves above reproach. Even the loss of chastity leaves the soul in mortality with opportunity to recover and repent and to make amends to some degree. But to take a life . . . cuts off the victim's experiences of mortality and thus his opportunity to repent, to keep God's commandments in this earth life."

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed