Scripture: from verse 24
He is to restore it in full plus an additional one-fifth; he must return it to the person who owns it, on the day when he presents his guilt offering.
Observation: The verse refers to anything that was obtained deceitfully, whether stolen, extorted, “borrowed,” lied about, etc. The person who took advantage of others is guilty, and a dual restitution is demanded: the guilt offering to be restored to harmony with the Lord, and returning the stolen money or item plus a fine, to be restored to harmony within the community.
God cares about the people around us. God cares that the community of believers lives in harmony. We can’t ignore the people around us and expect to be in God’s will. He loves them too.
Application: Consideration for others tends to be one of my shortcomings, though at least in practical matters like this I think I’m getting a better. (Considerate and positive words tend to be a little tougher for me.) But, easy or hard, keep the peace. Work to stay friends with others unless there’s a very good reason not to. Build the community, don’t tear it down.
Prayer: Father, thank you for loving the people around me. Help me to love them too. Help me to notice when I am hurting others and find ways to restore the relationship. Amen.