03/27/15

Permalink 09:36:27 am, Step(s): 08 Make a list..., 359 words   English (US)

Sawdust, Wood, & Forgiveness

" 1 "Do not judge others. Then you will not be judged. 2 You will be judged in the same way you judge others. You will be measured in the same way you measure others.

3 "You look at the bit of sawdust in your friend's eye. But you pay no attention to the piece of wood in your own eye. 4 How can you say to your friend, 'Let me take the bit of sawdust out of your eye'? How can you say this while there is a piece of wood in your own eye?

5 "You pretender! First take the piece of wood out of your own eye. Then you will be able to see clearly to take the bit of sawdust out of your friend's eye." (Matthew 7:1-5 )

This is a hard lesson to learn. I've spent most of my life trying to extract the sawdust in your eye -- telling you what's wrong with you -- while ignoring the chunk of wood in my own eye -- my own issues. I'm beginning to learn to deal with my own stuff. And, one of the ways I do that is to consider all those whom I have harmed and become willing to make amends to them.

Rather than judging their misbehavior and their motives, I must choose to forgive them for what they have done to me, while relying on God to give me an heart of forgiveness. This is important because there is no way that I can make effective amends with someone that I won't forgive.

"For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matthew 6:14,15 )

Looking at this from the positive side, it becomes a win-win-win situation:

  • Win 1: When I forgive you, it frees God to forgive me.
  • Win 2: When I am forgiven, it gives me the freedom and peace I need to become willing to make amends with you.
  • Win 3: When I make amends with you, then you are more likely to forgive me, and thereby be forgiven by God as well.

As this healthy cycle of forgiveness and amends continues, love grows where hatred once flourished and we become more and more able to help each other, in healthy and loving ways, with those remaining splinters...

"Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all." (Step 8)

01/02/15

Permalink 09:11:41 am, Step(s): 08 Make a list..., 477 words   English (US)

Making Amends -- A good decision?

When conviction comes that I have wronged someone, the temptation is to argue with that conviction. Maybe (I think to myself) what I did/said was justified by the circumstances. Maybe that other person deserved what I did/said to them. Maybe that person also wronged me, and my lack of forgiveness toward that person is blinding me to the fact that I too was wrong and need to make amends.

The real question is, am I willing to do what Jesus said? "If therefore thou art offering thy gift at the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught 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 ). Zacchaeus must have recognized the importance of this step when he said, "... Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold" (Luke 19:8 ).

Do I trust God enough to let Him "both to will and to do of his good pleasure" in my life? (Philippians 2:13 ). Will the pain of obedience result in something good for me? Will making amends make me a better person? Am I so committed to recovery that I will do whatever it takes to become a person of integrity -- a person that others can trust?

When I first practiced this step, I was scared, very scared, because I had to face up to some really bad things that I had done. I spent many tear-filled hours agonizing with God to help me to come to the place of being willing to make amends. I had no idea how these people would react to my acknowledgment of wrong doing, and to my apologies. I was about to put myself into a place of vulnerability, and it was very uncomfortable. But I knew, that in order to continue in my recovery process, I must become willing to do what ever it takes to cooperate with God as He worked to repair my broken life. Would these people whom I have wronged accept my amends, or would they reject me and crush me even further. Would it even be appropriate to contact all of these people? For now, I just needed to decide whether I am willing - no matter what the consequences would be. Do I really believe that God will only lead me in ways that I would choose to be led, if I could see the end from the beginning, as He can?

I praise God that I did decide to make amends, no matter what the cost. Even now, looking back at that decision, I have no regrets. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Only one question remains: If God is convicting you to make amends, do you trust Him enough to see you through this challenging time, and to do what He is asking of you? Will you surrender your will to His, trusting that it is for your ultimate good?

"Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all." (Step 8)

10/10/14

Permalink 07:43:22 am, Step(s): 08 Make a list..., 537 words   English (US)

Love, Forgiveness, & Amends

1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn't love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing.

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-13 ) NLT

No matter how much I strive for excellence in my life and occupation, if I have not love for those around me, all my other efforts are in vain. Even if I give large amounts of money, and even time, to help those in need, without love, it's worthless. And even if I do many good deeds, but am unwilling to forgive and make amends, to those whom I have wronged, my good deeds are of no lasting value.

Sometimes, those whom I have wronged first wronged me. And, they may even still be doing similar wrongs to me and to others. So, will I choose to separate the sin from the sinner? I realize that I am no more deserving of forgiveness than they are. I wonder, if a person is worthy of forgiveness, do they actually need forgiveness? I'm not sure...

I'm coming to believe that forgiving doesn't mean excusing or forgetting the wrong. And it doesn't mean a removal of consequences. But it does mean a change of attitude on my part. It means that I begin to wish the offender well. It means that I pray that my offender may find healing through recovery, so that they may find the peace and joy that I am finding in the Lord. It means that I want to see my offender as an erring child of God, such as I. It means... that I am becoming willing to make amends.

"Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all." (Step 8)

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