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‘If I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.’ Luke 19:8 NIV

If you’ve defrauded someone, God expects you to make restitution. Don’t just expect people to forgive you! If you do, God will expect the same of you when you’ve been cheated. God looks for justice.

Zacchaeus was a first-century con artist who worked for the Romans collecting taxes from his own people, the Jews. He fleeced everything that walked. He was filthy rich (Luke 19:2).

But after spending time with Jesus, he was so radically changed, he said: ‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.’

Jesus taught, ‘Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.’ (Matthew 3:8 NIV) But sometimes it’s not possible to make amends to the person you’ve hurt. What if they’re dead? What if you’ve got no idea where they are and you’ve got no clue what name they’re using on social media?

So what should you do? Pray and receive God’s forgiveness (see 1 John 1:7–9). And if you still feel troubled about it, talk to your pastor, or a Christian counsellor, or a mature friend who can handle it. James writes, ‘Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.’ (James 5:16 NIV)

The point is, you must be willing to make amends when it’s possible, and willing to incur the cost to make things right. If you do that, God will bless you and you can live with a clear conscience concerning it.

SoulFood: Deut 30:1–32:28, Luke 11:45–54, Ps 119:9–16, Pr 17:4–6

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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