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Zacchaeus: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold. (Luke 19, ESV)
The text of the New Testament does not tell us that Zacchaeus stopped being a tax collector for the Romans. He just becomes a more honest one, a penitent one. “Render unto Caesar.”
I don’t know how many people in the IRS need to follow his example by repenting of theft and making restitution.
But there’s one other thing Zacchaeus does that is certainly worthy of emulation for a great many in the IRS: He admits his mistakes.
Please admit your mistakes, IRS. You mailed Mrs. Augustine and me thousands of dollars in advance child tax credits we weren’t eligible to receive (and which we have returned as voided checks). But you still haven’t figured out that those same children–fully qualified for the regular child tax credit, which we got in 2018 and 2020–were also with us in 2019, and that we, therefore, do not owe you $9,000 in back taxes for 2019.
And for any of you who are actually breaking the law or lying, I won’t say “Go to Hell” because I have a much better idea: Imitate Zacchaeus. Not the early, corrupt version. Imitate Zacchaeus 2.0–Zacchaeus the penitent sinner. Go to Jesus Christ, repent of your sins, and then go back to the office the next day and make it right.Published in