If we’ve cheated someone, God expects us to make amends for it. We shouldn’t try to hide or ignore it, even if we’re worried about looking bad. We need to be honest and do what we can to put things right. In Luke’s Gospel, we read about Zacchaeus, who worked for the Romans collecting taxes. In those times, Jews considered tax collectors to be traitors, as they worked for their Roman enemies and often cheated people. The Bible tells us that Zacchaeus ‘had become very rich’ (Luke 19:2 NLT), and the people who knew him called him ‘a notorious sinner’ (v.7 NLT). But after meeting with Jesus, he was radically changed: ‘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 that we should ‘do the things that show you really have changed your hearts and lives’ (Matthew 3:8 NCV). But what if it isn’t possible for us to make amends? What if we can no longer get in touch with the person we’ve cheated, or by revealing our guilt, we’d end up in danger or badly hurting others? In those times, we need to pray and receive God’s forgiveness (see 1 John 1:7-9). And if we still feel troubled about it, we should talk to our pastor or a trusted Christian friend or mentor. James wrote, ‘Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed’ (James 5:16 NIV). We must be willing to make amends when it’s possible, and willing to pay the cost to make things right. God will be pleased with our honesty and effort.
Is there anything you’ve been dishonest about? Make a decision to own up to it today, and confess it to God. Then, if you can, look for a way to make amends.
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