Pastor Rod Mattoon gives advice on dealing with sin and Christian relationships: Wrongs Must Be Made Right with Others
Acts 24:16—And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.
Restitution involves repairing or replacing that which was damaged. If you have damaged someone's reputation by slandering them, then you need to publicly restore their name because you don't know how far your slander has traveled. If you have offended someone privately, then you go to that person and seek their forgiveness privately. If you have done something that has entered the public arena such as a moral failure, then you seek repentance publicly, especially with your church family. You go as far as the ripple goes.
Public repentance is necessary for your testimony because people don't know what is going on in your life unless you tell them. If you got your life right with God, then tell them and seek forgiveness for your bad example and offensive behavior. After Zacchaeus met the Lord, he wanted to make restitution with others who were offended by his dishonesty.
Luke 19:8—And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
Unwillingness to get your life right with people indicates a pride problem and spiritual immaturity. You will continue to struggle in your Christian growth until you clear your conscience.
Paul has been presenting his case that he had no skeletons in his closet. His life was above reproach, his integrity was intact, his character was Christlike, his sincerity was sterling, his veracity was valid, his candidness was clear, and his faithfulness was flawless. The witnesses to his character were first of all his confidence and secondly, his conscience. The third area of evidence was his conduct. The principles that he shares about his own conduct should be mimicked in our own personal lives.
Copied from: Rod Mattoon, Mattoon's Treasures – Treasures from 2 Corinthians, (Springfield, IL: Lincoln Land Baptist Church, n.d.), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 39-40.
(HT: Jason Smathers)