Forgiveness costs something more than confession. The Bible says so, but people skip over this part.

Read Leviticus 4:1 – 6:7. Yes, Leviticus. Most Christians avoid it because it seems so out of touch with modern spirituality.

In Leviticus it goes to great length to describe what confession costs, even for unintentional sin. But the part I will focus on is the restitution part of confession and forgiveness when you harm your neighbour by theft or loss. You must return what you defrauded, stole, kept, snuck, or broke. Then you add one-fifth more.

Think of it. One-fifth is twenty percent. Our tithe to God is only 10%. Restitution for theft is twice that. To be restored to our neighbour costs the principal plus 20%.

Now I’m no mathematician, but if it costs twice as much to reconcile with our neighbour as it does to reconcile to our Creator it means reconciliation with our neighbour is serious business.

When I was very young, about 9 years old, I stole $2. As an adult, married and a father, God kept bringing that to mind. Sure I was young. Sure, I was so poor there wasn’t enough food in the house for us all so it got spread around and Mother went without. God did not see that as an excuse. Theft is theft.

So finally I got it sorted out and I sent the money to the victim, only I doubled it. I apologized to the victim and asked them to forgive me. Just an aside note, this was before computers (yes!) and electronic transfer of funds, so I mailed it through Canada Post with a hand-written letter.

Once it was mailed peace about the sin resolved replaced the reminders God had kept sending to me. By the way, the person was very gracious about it.

When you cheat someone, lie, gossip, kangaroo court someone, slander or abuse power you have sinned. When you steal or damage someone’s property you have sinned.

EXTFAITHDon’t numb your conscience as evil wants. Reconcile, but pay the price. Add 20% to material goods. Undo your malice, or at least go in person and humbly confess your crime and sin and ask for reconciliation, maybe even ask what would be proper restitution.

All I know is that empty words, a ritualized prayer followed by a priestly declaration of forgiveness, won’t do.

What will do is to do something. Do what is due before the dew falls in the morning.

“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and remember there that another believer has something against you, leave your gift at the altar. First go away and make peace with that person. Then come back and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24 God’s Word©).

Do you get it? Sin, if not confessed with restitution, invalidates your own personal offering in worship to Creator.

This is really serious!