Even the best relationships can run into issues when one friend wrongs another. In the course of an argument, we may say or do things that hurt someone, and only later realize how much pain we have caused. While God promises forgiveness, we still need to do what we can to make things right with those around us (see Matt. 5:21-26; Rom. 12:18). A good example of restitution, making things right, occurs in the story of Zacchaeus.

Luke wrote, “And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich” (Luke 19:2, ESV). Tax collectors had a well-deserved reputation for cheating people, especially as they collaborated with the Roman occupation. They were so despised that religious leaders taught that it was permissible to deceive them. When Jesus arrived in Jericho, Zacchaeus climbed a sycamore tree to see above the crowd. The story says, “When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today’” (Luke 19:5, ESV). To enter a tax collector’s house was considered to make you spiritually unclean, yet that’s where Jesus went. The story ends with Zacchaeus’ conversion and a promise to give half of his possessions to the poor. Zacchaeus pledged, “If I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount” (Luke 19:8, NIV).

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught, “If you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matt. 5:22-24). Jesus declared, “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you” (Matt. 5:42, ESV). When you have an opportunity to make things right, don’t do just the bare minimum, but be swift and generous. Anyone can do the minimum, or even the expected. As a Christian, do more than is necessary. Truly, go the extra mile.