When a friend asks to borrow a tissue, I say, “Here, take one. I don’t want it back.”
While a handkerchief is loaned or borrowed, a tissue is not.
Cautions against borrowing and lending go back centuries.
In Act I, Scene III of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Polonius counsels his son Laertes, “Neither a borrower nor lender be.”
The oft-quoted Benjamin Franklin warned: He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing.
But we borrow and lend all kinds of things: cups of sugar, lawnmowers, umbrellas, cars, and money.
Yet, a few things we refuse to lend, even though they may be “lendable.”
My favorite refillable pen, I do not lend.
I have a beautiful old bowl that belonged to my Great-Grandma Shoemate. It is pink and may be Depression glass. Whether it is or isn’t, I won’t lend it.
I own a hardback copy of Praise the Human Season by Don Robertson. It is one of my favorite novels.
My mom “bargained” with a neighbor to buy the book for 25 cents. (The neighbor didn’t want the book for herself but didn’t want to give it away.)
The book cost my mother 25 cents, but it is worth much more than that to me.
In fact, I will lend that book only to people I would be willing to lend $1,000.
And, of course, some things should never be lent or borrowed: identification cards, urine samples, and spouses, for example.
Surely the most unlikely thing to loan is a grave.
Yet, the body of Jesus was placed inside a borrowed tomb.
In the Old Testament, an Israelite was required to make restitution if he borrowed an animal, tool, or other item and then lost or damaged it.
In 2 Kings 6, an account is given of an incident in the life of the prophet Elisha.
He and students of the School of the Prophets were building a new meeting place near the Jordan River.
As one man worked to cut down a tree, the iron axe head he used fell into the water.
“O no, my Lord,” the man cried out. “It was borrowed.”
Had the axe head belonged to the student prophet himself, its loss would have been great. But since it was borrowed, its value was increased.
Under the Old Law, the appropriate response for the borrower of the axe head would have been based upon the following verse.
Exodus 22:14: If a man borrows anything from his neighbor, and it is injured or dies while its owner is not with it, he shall make full restitution.
Some commentators suggest that replacing a borrowed axe head in that day would be equivalent to replacing a borrowed car today.
Many fights, divorces, and lawsuits ensue when adequate restitution is not made.
Restitution is defined as the act of restoring, as in restoration of something to its rightful owner.
Restitution is a common theme in the Bible.
Read Exodus 22 and Leviticus 6 for examples of God’s laws governing restitution under the Old Law.
The New Testament records a beautiful account of restitution in the story of Zacchaeus.
Luke 19:8-9:Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”
Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
An article found at www.gotquestions.org sums up the exchange between Zacchaeus and Jesus this way:
From Zacchaeus’s words, we gather that 1) he had been guilty of defrauding people, 2) he was remorseful over his past actions, and 3) he was committed to making restitution.
From Jesus’ words, we understand that 1) Zacchaeus was saved that day and his sin was forgiven, and 2) the evidence of his salvation was both his public confession (see Romans 10:10) and his relinquishing of all ill-gotten gains.
Zacchaeus repented, and his sincerity was evident in his immediate desire to make restitution. Here was a man who was penitent and contrite, and the proof of his conversion to Christ was his resolve to atone, as much as possible, for past sins.
The same holds true for anyone who truly knows Christ today. Genuine repentance leads to a desire to redress wrongs. When someone becomes a Christian, he will have a desire born of deep conviction to do good, and that includes making restoration whenever possible.
The idea of “whenever possible” is crucially important to remember. There are some crimes and sins for which there is no adequate restitution.
In such instances, a Christian should make some form of restitution that demonstrates repentance, but at the same time, does not need to feel guilty about the inability to make full restitution.
Restitution is to be a result of our salvation—it is not a requirement for salvation. If you have received forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ, all your sins are forgiven, whether you have been able to make restitution for them or not.
That is because grace is neither lent nor borrowed.
It is God’s enduring gift to His undeserving but ever grateful children.