I would like it if you could assist me with an issue that is causing me great anxiety. I was an atheist for many years. I have sinned in ignorance. Now after reading the Scripture guilt took over me. I have committed minor property damage and took money fraudulently. Nothing really serious.
Recently I have contacted many of the involved parties. Many didn't even reply, but there is a wronged party from whom, years ago, I fraudulently took some money. I had the intent to take more but quit. I have confessed to the injured party my wrongdoings. I was prepared to face my consequences in order to put this issue into the past. The company replied and just asked me for the value I took. After reading Leviticus 6, I decided to pay back the value plus 20% as commanded. The next day I got a call from the company telling me they were going to give me the extra money back (the 20% extra) because they can't keep it or accept it.
Now. I still feel guilty because, Zacchaeus restored more than 20%, he restored 400%. Do I have to do the same? Is it a new commandment of the New Testament? I still feel guilty because of Zacchaeus. I feel that if he did it, I have to do it, or I won't be saved. Also, do I have to make restitution for the money I didn't take but was about to?
Please help. May the Father bless you.
First off, we are not under the Old Law. See: Why We Don't Follow the Old Testament.
Zacchaeus offered to return four times the amount if he defrauded someone. "Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold" " (Luke 19:8). It does not mean anyone took him up on his offer.
You offered to pay back the company extra. That was a nice gesture on your part. They declined, as is their right. If it makes you feel better, give that extra money to someone in need of money. But understand that God is not commanding people today to make 20% restitutions.
In regards to the money you thought about taking but did not. You were tempted to sin, but you did not sin. Being tempted is not a sin.
You are trying to earn salvation from God by creating tasks that God did not ask from you. If you want to be pleasing to God, do what He says. If you want to do extra, that is completely up to you, but it doesn't make you more or less favored in God's sight. Zacchaeus made his declaration, not to earn Jesus or God's favor but because he changed his attitude and he did not want to profit from his past sins. Jesus showed him love and in his appreciation for the Lord, he became a changed man.
Do good because you appreciate that God has favored you, not because you are trying to buy God's blessing.