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Sin and Restitution for Sins


The word for sin is “hamartia” which means missing a target in shooting. In the spiritual sense, it means missing life’s very goal, which is to reach heaven and be united with God. So, the non-believer and the impenitent miss their God-granted goal of reaching Heaven.

Since Jesus is from above and he is God, he has the knowledge and authority to say that those who reject him will die in their sins. We humans have inherited sin by birth because of the fall of our first parents, and we have personal sins that we are committing. So, they are living in sin. They can be free from this bondage only by accepting Jesus, who came as the redeemer of humanity, and only he can do it. Otherwise, their destiny is death in their sins.


A confession will be perfect only with restitution. If we have damaged the reputation of another, we should correct that to the community where we spread the gossip. If the damage is to property, we should restitute it by returning the same with interest. According to the Catholic Church, “Many sins wrong our neighbour. One must do what is possible in order to repair the harm (e.g. return stolen goods, restore the reputation of someone slandered, pay compensation for injuries). Simple justice requires as much. But sin also injures and weakens the sinner himself, as well as his relationships with God and neighbour. Absolution takes away sin, but it does not remedy all the disorders sin has caused. Raised up from sin, the sinner must still recover his full spiritual health by doing something more to make amends for the sin: he must ‘make satisfaction for’ or ‘expiate’ his sins. This satisfaction is also called ‘penance’” (CCC-1459). Zacchaeus became a fine example of undergoing true conversion by way of making a thorough confession backed with genuine restitution.

If one has damaged the reputation of another, one has to rectify it. If one has cheated or caused any kind of damage to another, one has to compensate for that. God will accept our sacrifice only after we make restitution for the damage. So, reconciliation with one another and with God and reparation for the injustice done are prerequisites for a sacrifice to God. Jesus taught forgiving others is required for gaining God’s forgiveness. He said, “If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions” (Mt 6:15-16). Our sacrifices become ineffective if we do not reconcile with others or do not compensate for the damage we have caused.


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