If you put temptation in the way of a (dishonest) person then don’t be surprised if he/she steals from you.
I had such an experience almost 7 years ago. In fact I didn’t thnk or wanted to think that the person was someone who lacks integrity. He was my friend, a pastor, my brother. To cut a long story short, I ended up paying for it, financially, healthwise and in other ways.
This incident was done all in the name of ministry, I have given over to God and so I don’t think much about it or the person these days. In fact he made contact with me a few months ago and we had a conversation via telephone wherein I told him I had forgiven him. I also gave him a chance to make restitution but he didn’t think he had done anything wrong.
Today after church, I had a converstion over coffee with two friends on a similiar topic and using my experience as an example. At times when God ask us to give or bless others we need to exercise wisdom and ask how or by what medium. If not, we may be putting temptation in the way of that person and depending on their circumstances they might yield it.
One of my friends over coffee agreed and commented that while working as a mentor she was cautioned not to leave her belongings around. Not that the people weren’t trustworthy, but as they were unaware of their individual circumstances, a bag lying around might force someone to make an out of character choice. Another great advice on giving that was mentioned in church today is that we should not assume or take the initiative in administering help without asking the personwhat their needs are. In our enthusiam to give, we may be helping people in the wrong way.
I do not wish to excuse my friend’s behaviour. It was a painful experience of betrayal, so much so that a close friend cried on my behalf when I couldn’t due to restrained anger and when he realised the extent of the damage and how it affected me. Today I am still paying the consequences, but I finally realised my mistake! I had given via the wrong medium and therefore put temptation in the way of this person and he yielded to it.
Forgiveness is of very high value but if something is stolen, wouldn’t it be unjust to tell the robber to keep the goods and go and sin no more? Should the victim just forgive the wrong done or does justice requires that restitution be done for the damages caused and stolen property?
Restitution is a biblical concept and there are various passages on this in the Old and New Testament. Leviticus 6: 2-5 tells us that in situation where a stolen property is stolen it should be restored, plus one fifth of the value. In Luke 19 we have the wonderful example of Zaccheus, a chief publican who said to Jesus ‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.’
Can you really reconcile such a friendship especially when the person refused to accept that they have done is wrong?
A word of wisdom was given to me today regarding this situation and that is to give my loss as an offering to God. Almost 7 years after, I am finally at the place where I can do that and I beleive in doing so God will bless and multiply it in a big way!
Remember the words from the well known hymn ‘Yield Not To Temptation’
Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin;
Each victory will help you some other to win;
Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue;
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through
Ask the Savior to help you,
Comfort, strengthen, and keep you
He is willing to aid you,
He will carry you through.(Yield Not to Temptation | Horatio R. Palmer – 1868)