Recently, someone asked me about restitution. What I do in this brief article is show the question the person asked me. I then answer it.
A few years ago, when I was around 16 or 17 years old, my mother and I were going to worship at a house. I was driving a motorcycle with my mother to get there and when I tried to park my motorcycle, I accidentally scratched a man’s motorcycle while that man was watching me.
My mother told the man that she was going to pay for the damage, but the man only smiled and looked a little bit shocked when he heard that.
When the worship was over, we were looking for that man to make restitution, but he already went home.
A few days later, we met at church and he shook my hand as if nothing happened. I don’t know if this means he already forgave me or not, but I feel kind of guilty about this and I didn’t know what to do at that time.
Should I still make restitution for this, or is praying for the man enough?
It appears that it was your mother who said she was going to pay for the damage. As a result, it is technically on her to make restitution for this. Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 states the following (NASB):
5 Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil. 2 Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few. 3 For the dream comes through much effort and the voice of a fool through many words.
4 When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! 5 It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. 6 Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God.
If your mom is a Christian, then she should make restitution if she said she was going to make restitution. If she has made restitution, then that is excellent. If she has not, then she should do that as soon as possible given her essentially making a vow.
As for yourself, you can certainly continue to pray for the man. After all, the Bible does give an imperative to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Ephesians 6:17-20). If you haven’t apologized for what you did, you should certainly do that. You can certainly ask if there is anything you can do to help remedy the matter assuming your mom has not done it yet. If you do decide to do something tangible to make restitution, please make sure you do it promptly.