Monday, May 2, 2011

Bubble Gum, Repentance and Restitution

*Identities have been removed to protect the guilty.

Son X and Son Y both received two bubble gum balls on their last shopping trip. Son X ate only one of his pieces of bubble gum. Son Y ate both pieces.

At bedtime, Daddy helped Son X put his bubble gum ball on his dresser in a container so it wouldn't roll away.

The next day, Son X comes wailing to Mommy that his bubble gum is gone. Somebody ate my bubble gum! This is a catastrophe of monumental proportions!!

So, Detective Mommy sleuths out the culprit, who upon being confronted, confessed tearfully, "I didn't even enjoy eating it, because I knew it was wrong." Important lesson there!

Mommy reminds Son Y that Commandment 8 says, "You shall not steal." Taking bubble gum is stealing. So, following the administration of the 'board of learning' to the 'seat of education', Son Y comes to Son X and asks his forgiveness for eating his bubble gum: "I'm sorry for stealing your gum, please forgive me!" Son X forgives Son Y.

I received word of the sin, and approved the handling of the situation. ... until this morning!

I just sat down to read a bit of Teach Them Diligently: How to Use the Scriptures in Child Training by Lou Priolo and was struck by a caption in his chapter on Correcting with the Scriptures. The caption: Restitution.

It hit me: we didn't require Son Y to make restitution. That's important!

Scripture has a good bit to say about restitution. Numbers 5:6-8 establishes the basic principle -- restitution is 120% of the value of the item stolen (see also Lev. 6:5). Exodus 22:1-16 notes cases where restitution runs from 200% to 500%. Obviously, God takes stealing seriously!

So ... I'll be having a talk today with Son Y about restitution and what these verses mean for repaying stolen bubble gum. My plan is to require restitution of two bubble gum balls, since I can't see a feasible way to require 20% of a second bubble gum ball! :o)

1 comment: