The passage read and discussed about was the introduction of the section:

 

Restitution

PEACE FLOURISHES WHERE THERE IS JUSTICE. While justice may not appear the same to people on opposing sides of a conflict, steps should be taken to right wrongs, pay back debts, and restore trust when it has been violated. Usually it is not enough to repent for having wronged one’s neighbor; repentance should be accompanied by restitution.

Restitution is most effective when it is given freely by the guilty party to his victims, not exacted from him as the price of defeat. Compare the war reparations that Germany was forced to pay to France and England at the end of World War I by the Treaty of Versailles with the restitution Germany paid after World War II to Jews and other victims of the Nazis. In the former instance where the reparations were forced upon Germany, it created massive German resentment and fueled calls for revenge that led directly to the rise of Hitler. In the second instance where Germany felt sincere repentance for its Nazi crimes, the restitution has served to foster good will between Germany and its former enemies.

Thus it is a principle of peacemaking that we should offer restitution willingly to those we have harmed, accompanied by genuine repentance for the wrongs we committed. There are also the sins we commit without knowing, or debts we inherit from the past, or wrongs for which we are collectively responsible; we can also make restitution for these. Father Moon has developed this concept into a teaching called ‘restoration through indemnity.’ He teaches that ‘indemnity’ is not a fixed amount, like an insurance claim, but rather a matter of giving whatever is required to assuage the other party’s aggrieved heart. It can be small if the other party has a mind to forgive; or it can be great if the relationship has been strained by years of treachery and mistrust.

The phrase, “an eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth” can be taken in its original biblical meaning as a legal formula for making restitution; and it is so understood in Judaism. People know innately that they should pay back the full amount of their debt. The phrase is often cited wrongly, however, as a justification for revenge. That is a completely different matter. Revenge by the aggrieved party is a kind of rough justice, but it is not conducive to peace. It only furthers the cycle of violence. The scriptures teach that it is better to forgive.

 

Comments from the people were varied:

 

“There is a need for justice but with peace.”

 

“There were in the past family cases where children from single-parent families were given away to other families but were then exploited by the latter. Now, there is a restitution of money given to those children.”

 

“Some men give gifts to their beloved one to ask for forgiveness. They choose a gift that women like, for example jewelry, and know that in offering it, the woman will forget their anger and pardon them.”

 

“The treaty of Versailles shows the example of a creation of resentment in Germany after given to this country too much restitution.”

 

“When somebody says something hurting to someone else, it is important that this person gives a feedback, saying that is was hurting. Many people don’t say anything, for example in a couple, and one day, it suddenly exposes and can eventually end into a divorce.”

 

“The saying ‘an eye for an eye…’ was originally for the purpose of restitution, not for punishment. It was to make clear what had to be given back, like money, dot, etc.”

 

 

Written by Noëmie Komagata-Nguyen