8. Made a list of persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
This Step is part of proving the change that has taken place: to ourselves, and to others.
We must take responsibility for our past actions. Especially our actions that have hurt others.
“And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. 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 anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” ~ Luke 19:5-10
Jesus came to Zacchaeus’ house, because he knew that Zacchaeus had already made his list of those whom he had hurt. So he knew Zacchaeus was taking personal accountability for how he had hurt others in the past. And that now he was sincerely seeking to be reconciled to them. So Jesus was not just casually talking with Zacchaeus. He was coming to his house to stay with him, as a close friend!
We all need Jesus to be free to come and stay at our spiritual house: our heart. And he will, if we are taking seriously our responsibility to try to be reconciled to all whom we have wronged.
Reconciliation With Others is Necessary
This testimony of restoration was important. Not just for Zacchaeus, but also for those who knew Zacchaeus. Everyone knew the holiness in the life of Jesus Christ. How could Zacchaeus be part of Jesus’ purpose – unless he had already determined, and was showing publicly, that he wanted a change in his heart and behavior.
Yes, it matters to Jesus that we make our wrongs right! Zacchaeus in his heart knew this. True salvation will bring forgiveness, and a complete change in our heart. Salvation reconciles us to God. But yet we still need to do our part to be reconciled to those whom we have harmed.
“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” ~ Matthew 5:23-24
Don’t ignore your need to be reconciled to others! Otherwise God will again begin to feel distant to you. It matters a lot to God! So we dare not neglect to make an effort to apologize and to correct the wrongs we have done to others.
Sincerely Put Forth the Effort
Be careful that we don’t follow the path of most of the religious hypocrites of our day. They claim to do things, but they don’t really follow through with them. Remember that Jesus only gives favor to those who DO his will.
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” ~ James 1:22-25
Most of the religious world today still has some kind of “sin addiction.” They claim to have changed through Jesus Christ. But they don’t complete the work of God in their lives. And because they will not seek to be personally reconciled to everyone, they also do not seek to fully reconcile others to Jesus Christ.
“But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work today in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.” ~ Matthew 21:28-32
It is very offensive to Jesus Christ to claim “I will do it” and then not follow through.
“They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.” ~ Jonah 2:8-9
If we truly have been forgiven by Jesus Christ, then we also have been fully reconciled to him. Because of this, there is a desire to be true to our vow of faithfulness. A vow that naturally inspires us to be reconciled to others, and to reconcile them also to God.
“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:19-20
Even those who in our past have been our enemy, we now also desire to be reconciled to them, if it is possible.
“By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil. When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” ~ Proverbs 16:6-7