Don’t Forget God When You Sin Against Others
Leviticus 6:1-7 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “If a person sins and commits a trespass against the LORD by lying to his neighbor about what was delivered to him for safekeeping, or about a pledge, or about a robbery…in any one of these things that a man may do in which he sins: then it shall be, because he has sinned and is guilty, that he shall restore what he has stolen….He shall restore its full value, add one-fifth more to it, and give it to whomever it belongs, on the day of his trespass offering. And he shall bring his trespass offering to the LORD, a ram without blemish from the flock…as a trespass offering, to the priest. So the priest shall make atonement for him before the LORD, and he shall be forgiven for any one of these things that he may have done in which he trespasses.”
When we sin against someone else, we should do whatever it takes to not only ask for forgiveness, but to restore. If we lie, or simply find out that what we shared with others wasn’t the truth, we should work to set the record straight. If we take, we should give back and more. Simply saying “Sorry” isn’t usually enough to make up for the damage caused by our sins against others. Genuinely repentant people usually want to restore and bless those they’ve hurt. The Old Testament principle of restoration should be our guide to any kind of sin we’ve committed against another human.
Yet there is a precious addition here to the issue of restoration. “If a person sins and commits a trespass against the Lord by lying to his neighbor…” reminds us that sins against others are also sins against the Lord Himself. While we should be sensitive to the effect that our sins may have on others, and should work diligently to honor the principle of restoration, we also need to remember that we have to connect directly with the Lord as well.
The Scriptures mention making restoration “on the day of his trespass offering…so the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord.” People can forgive our sins against them, but only God can wash away our sin. Sometimes it takes such an emotional toll on us in the human arena when we sin that we forget that responding rightly to conviction of sin means seeking His forgiveness as well, and letting Him do whatever work He desires.
God works everything together for good for us, and that includes the complete redemption of our sin against others. But if we don’t recognize that we’ve also sinned against God, we’ll miss that full redemption. If we’ve sinned against someone else, there are things that need to be done in our minds and hearts that only God can do. There are things we need to hear, earn, and perhaps do that we can only receive directly by going to the Lord and opening our repentant hearts before Him.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for not seeking Your forgiveness as well as others’ when I sin against someone else. You have something You want to do in me when I sin. Help me to be faithful in my repentance toward others and toward You for their sake, my sake, and Your sake.