I’m sharing it with our local church through a preaching series.
We have discovered that emotions can attack us at the most inopportune times, but what matters is how we respond to them.
Last weekend at Crossroads Greeley, we learned that guilt attacks our sense of emotional debt by saying, “I owe you”. The remedy for this debt is either to pay it off or to cancel it. Paying the debt to the emotion of guilt is best done by public confession. No, I don’t mean going before a congregation and confessing your dark secrets, unless that is something you’re compelled to do. I mean, making things right with the person who wronged you, or the one you offended.
There is a fascinating verse in the Bible that talks about the percentage of debt we owe another person when we offend them. Moses wrote in Numbers 5.6-7, “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.”
It’s amazing that God wants us to add a fifth of the value to it and give back more than what we took from someone. I am aware that God required a tenth of the value of our income for his temple tithe through the Old Testament, but for us to add a fifth of the value of what we took from someone must mean something in regards to relationship with one another.
If I take $100 from you, God says, pay back $120 as adding a fifth of the value. If I make $100 at work, God only wants $10 as my offering to him in worship. So, let me get this right. When I offend someone by taking from them something that’s emotional or monetary, I owe them more than I would give to God out of an act of worship. That’s crazy. God wants me to make things right with my people on my level than he wants me to make things right with him.
Another way to say this is … my vertical relationship with God is taken care of b/c of the work Jesus did on the cross and my debts are paid through his offering. My horizontal relationships need to be mended by me with an effort that is greater equal to, or greater than God’s relationship with me. When I confess my sin to God, he forgives me (1 John 1:9), but when I confess my sin to another person, I need to restore the relationship and make amends… even up to 20% more than how I offended them.
What do you think of that? I’d love to hear your thoughts.