During the compilation of the Oxford English Dictionary, managing editor James Murray received thousands of definitions from Dr. William Chester Minor. They were always sent in by mail and never brought in personally. Murray was curious about this brilliant man, so he went to visit him. He was shocked to find that Minor was incarcerated in an asylum for the criminally insane.
Years earlier, while in a delusional state, Minor had shot an innocent man whom he thought had been tormenting him. Later he was filled with remorse and began sending money to support the widow and her family. Minor was imprisoned for the rest of his life but he found practical ways of easing the pain of his victims and contributing to society through his work on the dictionary.
When the dishonest tax collector Zacchaeus heard Jesus’ message of grace, he chose to return more than what he had extorted from others. “Look, Lord, . . . if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold” (Luke 19:8). The gospel of grace stirred Zacchaeus to help those he had harmed.
Have you wronged someone? What steps will you take to help make things right?
Forgive me, Lord, for all my sins,
The many wrongs that I have done;
And show me how to make things right
Before the setting of the sun. —Bosch
Making restitution reveals genuine repentance.