The Art and the Act of Restitution

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In 2014 we sent out a call for Liberian artists to “spark our recovery from Ebola”. The Recovery Exhibition, December 2014 through January 2015 at the National Museum of Liberia was a testament to our determination to recover. In 2016 we are promoting an understanding of Restitution so as to inspire desperately needed acts of Restitution in Liberia.

Restitution – a giving back of something that has been taken away.

Restitution is critical to reconciliation, peace, and unity.

When the old woman dropped her fancy writing pen as she left the car, the little boy passing by quickly grabbed it and disappeared down the road. When the old woman returned to enter the car, the small boy came back and returned her pen. THAT was Restitution – instant reconciliation, peace, and unity of spirits.

On the other hand, the young man who came to live with his grandparents to help them rebuild their farm was different. He stole all his grandparents’ new equipment and supplies and left, never to return – no Restitution, no reconciliation, no peace, no unity in the whole family. And this disabling condition spreads from family to community to nation.

When a wrong has been done, running away, hiding, denying guilt, or begging forgiveness will not heal the wound. Actually repairing the wrong by returning the things taken, repayment in full, or giving personal service equal to the damage done is required. The sincerity, energy, and commitment shown can make all the difference in bringing the relationship back in balance.

A sure way to elevate the act of Restitution to an art is to establish a “forgiveness savings account.” Just as we may have a money savings account somewhere to keep money for a time when we may need it, we can have a forgiveness savings account. In this case, we will be storing our good deeds with someone we depend on.

We can always be quick to say, “Oh, please forgive me. It will never happen again.” But when you have already saved many good deeds in your friend’s “forgiveness account,” it will be easier for them to forgive you.

When we are brave to say, “What can I do to repair the damage I did?” and then do it, reconciliation, peace, and unity can be restored and we will truly be re-building our nation; family to family, community to community, county to county.

Liberia Holds the Key

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