We willingly made direct amends
wherever wise and possible
to all people we had harmed.
In Step 8, we identified our wrongs. In Step 9, we confessed them, asking God to remove them. In Step 10 we take action against them. We seek, as far as lies within us, to undo any harm we have done and heal any wounds we have inflicted.
In the past when we wronged someone, many of us simply indulged in futile wishing that it had never happened. Now we choose to live in reality by gratefully acknowledging that though we cannot change the past, we can do something about the present and the future.
In the past, many of us bottled up the guilt we felt when we hurt another person. We often withdrew from that person and sometimes developed deep resentments toward those we had injured. Far from improving matters, withdrawal and resentment only fed the deep fears of abandonment and rejection which had fueled our homosexual struggle. Now we learn from Step 10 how to work through our resentments and resolve the problems within our relationships by going directly to the people we have harmed, admitting our wrongs, asking forgiveness, and trying to repair any damage we have done.
Obviously this is not easy! It takes enormous courage to reach out to someone and admit that we have wronged them. Some of us, to spare ourselves the pain of face-to-face contact, tried to find an "easier, softer way". We sought to make it easier on ourselves, for instance, by writing a letter instead of going directly to the one we had grieved. This only documented what we were trying to erase and often left our relationships weighted down with even more misun- derstandings than before.
Some of us did find that writing a letter was a good way to collect our thoughts. A few of us even had to hand that letter to the one we had wronged, asking them to read it in our presence because we simply could not find the words we needed to express our grief. Then we tried to answer his or her questions and elaborate on what we had written. Some of us had to telephone the one we had wronged because we feared that a meeting might lead to a fall. But all of us have found that there is no substitute for direct contact with the one we have harmed in this difficult but liberating process.
The process itself is a simple one. First, we make a list of all the people we have harmed including those with whom we have been sexually involved, the members of our family of origin and/or by marriage (spouses and children), our church family, the people with whom we work, and any persons or groups toward whom we have manifested resentment, prejudice, or intoler- ance. Second, we prioritize that list giving first place to those with whom we are most intimately related and who have been most seriously and most recently hurt. Third, we explore in writing how we have wronged them and share our findings with our step coach or the one to whom we made our confession, asking their input on what we have written and their guidance as to the wisdom and possibility of making amends. Fourth, we call the person we hurt and make an appointment to see them. Fifth, we express our grief at the ways in which we wronged them and our willingness to do whatever we can to make amends. We ask how they feel about what we have shared and what they feel would be appropriate amends. We earnestly try to follow through on any commitments we make to them.
There are some cautions we would suggest. Remember, the primary goal is not to relieve our guilt-feelings, but to correct our wrongs. Therefore we should never try to make amends when to do so would injure another person. While our efforts may cause some discomfort, our goal is not our personal ease, but to relieve the suffering of those we have injured. We must walk a fine line between rationalizations that keep us from making amends where we can, and folly that leads us to dump our problems on others without weighing the impact on them. Seek counsel from your step coach as to whether or not it is wise to try to make amends in a given situation.
It is also important to remember that making amends is more than simply offering an apology. It includes a commitment to change those attitudes and behaviors which caused the wounds in the first place. Be sure to include yourself on the list of those you have injured and to whom you need to make amends. All of us have been our own worst enemies! We make amends to ourselves by not being harsh with ourselves, as we have in the past, and by resolving to stay in recovery and avoid future falls!
Do guard against letting this process undermine your newly discovered sense of God's acceptance and your own worth before Him. "...The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (I John 1:7). If you are trusting in Christ, you are no longer guilty, you are forgiven; you are no longer dirty, you are clean! Don't try to punish yourself. Our Savior took all the punishment we deserve and cried, "It is finished" (John 19:30)! To try and punish yourself is to deny the adequacy of His sacrifice for you. While we often have to endure some consequences because of our actions, we ought not to add to the misery they have already caused and thus rob Christ of His glory as Savior. Though you have hurt others, you are forgiven. In most instances you will be able to make amends and avoid making the same mistakes again. The goal of Step 10 is healing others' wounds, not inflicting fresh ones on yourself!
Obviously, you may never be able to fix everything you have done wrong, but you can repair some of the damage. Confessing that you hurt someone does not take away their pain, but con- fessing, accepting responsibility, explaining your struggle, and allowing the person to express his or her feelings opens a line of communication which can lead to an improved relationship.
Remember your limitations. You can only confess the harm you have caused in the past and do your best to behave differently in the future. You cannot control the way others respond to your past actions or your present attempts at making amends. Realistically, you will not be able to rebuild all of your friendships. Some of those who have been hurt will not want to risk relating to you again. You have done all that you can. Their fears are their problem. Others will need lots of time and support before they can forgive or trust you. Remember, the purpose of making amends is not to get something, but to ease the pain of those you wounded.
A few people may make unreasonable demands. They may still be angry and wish to use amends as a way to punish you. If you suspect this, discuss the matter with your step coach. If he or she agrees, tell the person making the demands that you are sorry for your wrong but you cannot do all that they ask. Assure them that you will do whatever you can to restore the relationship. Do so, and move on!
This whole process teaches us how to deal with new failures as soon as they occur. Recovery proceeds slowly and imperfectly--one day at a time, one choice at a time. Steps 8-10 teach us how to deal with our mistakes as we make them rather than letting things pile up until we are overwhelmed.
The restored relationships which result from working Step 10 give us a pool of people who know us, love us, understand us, and support us as we walk the path of freedom in Christ. We now have folk with whom we have been and can continue to be completely open and honest. Having removed the impediments that kept us fearful of them, we can now receive the love and support we need to help us recover.
1. Does the Bible encourage making amends?
"If a man overreach or defraud his brother in any matter, it is to be looked upon as a trespass against the Lord, who...strictly charges...us to do justly. Now what is to be done when a man's awakened conscience charges him with guilt of this kind, and brings it to his remembrance though done long ago? 1. He must confess his sin, confess it to God, confess it to his neigh- bor... If he has denied it before, though it go against the grain to own himself in a lie, yet he must do it... 2. He must bring a sacrifice, a ram of atonement, v.8 (see John 1:29). Satisfac- tion must be made for the offence done to God, whose law is broken, as well as for the loss sustained by our neighbor; restitution...is not sufficient without faith and repentance. 3. ...Amends...(must be) made to the party wronged, not only the principal, but a fifth part added to it, v.7." [Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible I, p. 580]
The command to bring a ram of atonement teaches us that making amends (our work) is not the same as making atonement (Christ's work). We do not make amends in hopes that this will blot out our sins or earn us acceptance with God. We are not our own saviors. Jesus saves! He washes us from our sins in His own blood (Revelation 1:5). We are accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6). Having been forgiven and accepted in Christ, we make amends to repair as much of the damage we have done to others as we can.
Many of us tried to blot out our guilt-feelings by engaging in sexual activity. Those who have wronged others "need not feel guilt and shame forever. Amends-making gives them the oppor- tunity for dignity. They learn that when they make a mistake, they don't have to retreat into the secret world. In most cases, people will accept their efforts to right the wrongs they have done." [Patrick Carnes, Out of the Shadows, p. 141]
"Peacemakers" "are not only passively peaceful, like the meek, who keep the peace; but actively peaceful by endeavoring to end...contentions, and so make peace." [C. H. Spurgeon, The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 49]
"Our Lord...paints...a scene in the Jewish Temple. The worshipper is about to offer a 'gift'... and stands at the altar with the priest waiting to do his work. That is the right time for recollection and self-scrutiny. The worshipper is to ask himself, not whether he has a ground of complaint against any one, but whether any one has cause of complaint against him. ...Has he injured his neighbor by act, or spoken bitter words against him?... To leave the gift and the priest, the act of sacrifice unfinished, would be strange and startling, yet that, our Lord teaches, were better than to sacrifice with the sense of a wrong unconfessed.... There must be... confession of wrong and the endeavor to make amends, to bring about, as far as in us lies, reconciliation.... The imagery is changed...to that of human tribunals... The man we have wronged appears as the 'adversary,' the prosecutor bringing his charge against us. The impulse of the natural man at such a time, even if conscious of wrong, is to make the best of his case, to prevaricate, to recriminate. The truer wisdom, Christ teaches, is to 'agree'--better, to be on good terms with--show our own good will and so win his." [E. H. Plumptre, "The Gospel According to St. Matthew," Ellicott's Commentary on the Whole Bible VI, p. 26]
"Jesus' demand for reconciliation naturally does not imply that there are no limits to what is possible or permissible, especially if one's adversary is harboring an unjust grievance. He does not raise this possibility here, however. Instead all emphasis falls on the danger that the heavenly Judge might find one's willingness to be reconciled inadequate..." [H. N. Ridderbos, "Matthew," Bible Student's Commentary, p. 107]
"Such as would have their prayers granted must not live as they please but do to others as in reason they would be done to by others." [David Dickson, A Brief Exposition of the Evangel of Jesus Christ According to Matthew, p. 88]
"In the Golden Rule...the Sermon reaches its climax; it is 'the capstone of the whole dis- course.'... It is of course assumed that men wish to have done to them what is really good for them: wishes for what is pleasant but harmful are not included.... What we desire from our neighbors is love,--true, constant, discerning love: and it is from our experience of our own needs in this respect that we can discern how much love of the same kind we owe to others." [Alfred Plummer, An Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, p. 113-114]
"There are too many people, and too few human beings." [Robert Zend in Laurence Peter, Peter's Quotations, p. 380]
We cannot control the responses of others (hence the words "if it be possible"), but we can give our efforts to make amends our all (hence the words "as much as lieth in you"). That is all God expects. "The responsibility for discord must to no extent be traceable to failure on our part to do all that is compatible with holiness, truth and right." [John Murray, "The Epistle to the Romans," The New International Commentary on the New Testament II, p. 139]
2. Does the Bible give examples to follow in making amends?
This is the best biblical example of the need for, process of, and desired result in making amends. The prodigal son had wounded his father terribly. The young man's folly also caused him deep pain. Pain brought him to his senses. He longed to restore his relationship with his father so he carefully thought out what he wanted to say and, when they met, used those very words. "He did not try to excuse his behavior or minimize his offence. He did not make any claims on his father. He spoke honestly, directly, and with a contrite heart." [Claire W., God, Help Me Stop, p. 56] He acknowledged his guilt and offered to do whatever he could to repair the damage he had done. His father's response was all the son could have asked, and far more than he expected. May you experience all the joy of reconciliation here revealed!
The Greek "shows that he is not in doubt about past malpractices: 'if, as I know is the case, I have,' etc." [Alfred Plummer, "The Gospel According to S. Luke," The International Critical Commentary, p. 435]
Those who struggle with pornography can learn much from the example of the people of Ephesus.
3. Will everyone accept my attempts to make amends?
"Hatred, however varnished by smooth pretence, is the selfish principle of man... Like a sub- terraneous fire, it continually stirs up mischief, creates or keeps alive rankling coldness, disgusts, dislikes, 'envyings and evil surmisings'.... Love covers, overlooks, speedily forgives and forgets." [Charles Bridges, An Exposition of Proverbs, p. 97]
"Let us beware of this spirit infecting our own hearts.... Men begin by not seeing their own sinfulness and unworthiness, and...fancy that they are much better than others.... The man who really feels that we all stand by grace and are all debtors, and that the best of us has nothing to boast of and has nothing which he has not received,--such a man will not be found talking like the 'elder brother.'" [J. C. Ryle, "Luke," Expository Thoughts on the Gospels II, p. 191]
It may be that even some Christians will be afraid to risk trusting us again, but God always has people like Barnabas who will open their hearts to us and help us rebuild our shattered relation- ships.
We cannot control other's responses to our efforts to make amends. To try to do so is to bring nothing but frustration to our lives. If someone is unwilling or unable to respond to us in love, that is their problem. We can only try to live out our recovery and pray that they will be able to work their difficulties through with God's help.
We can, however, control our responses to other people and, by God's grace, see that those responses spring from "the wisdom that is from above." We can learn to pray and live the Serenity Prayer:
"God, grant me
SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change,
COURAGE to change the things I can, and
WISDOM to know the difference."
4. Do I need to be afraid of how others might respond?
"A sovereign Protector I have,
Unseen, yet for ever at hand,
Unchangeably faithful to save,
Almighty to rule and command.
He smiles, and my comforts abound;
His grace as the dew shall descend;
And walls of salvation surround
The soul he delights to defend." [Augustus M. Toplady in Gathered Gold, p. 278]
"Were the diver to think on the jaws of the shark, he would never lay hands on the pearl." [Sa'di, c. 1258 in You Can Say That Again, p. 96]
"God can turn foes into friends when He pleases." [Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible III, p. 881]
"God will take care of His people. Peace or war shall turn to their everlasting good." [Charles Bridges, An Exposition of Proverbs, p. 232]
"If Jesus is our righteousness,
then no human is better or worse than me.
If we fight not against flesh and blood,
but against spiritual forces and principalities,
then no human is my enemy.
If God is my provision,
then I don't need to lay up treasures on earth
or defensively hoard and protect my possessions.
If God is our creator,
then every human is worth knowing, and respecting, and serving
as a beautiful, unique, amazing example of God's love and creativity,
no matter how poor or socially different from me.
If God is my protector,
I do not need to be afraid of any change, or any person,
or any circumstance.
If God is my forgiveness,
I do not need to be afraid of stumbling or falling;
Besides, He does not give us fear and timidity,
but love, power, and clear thinking."
[Jim Hornsby in Sarah Hornsby, Who I Am In Jesus, last page]
II Timothy 1:7
"The faint-hearted mistrust themselves and others; and they discourage themselves and others. They anticipate dangers and difficulties, and thereby sometimes create them; and they anticipate failure, and thereby often bring it about." [Alfred Plummer, "The Pastoral Epistles," The Expositor's Bible VI, p. 462]
"The atheist counts his enemies; the saint looks up to God." [D. L. Moody, Notes From My Bible, p. 53]
5. What else might be hindering my making amends?
At times we may have difficulty making amends because we know the other person is also in the wrong. We play a complicated game of blame and thus overlook our own faults.
Someone has said that whatever the sinful situation in which we find ourselves, it's never 100% the other person's fault. We did play a role. We could have responded differently. We could have resisted. These are things for which we should make amends. Accepting some responsibil- ity keeps us humble and helps us recognize that self-righteousness has no place in the healing process.
Further, we often find it difficult to forgive in others the very things for which we need to be forgiven. We find ourselves condemning in others the things which remind us of ourselves. We may even enter into judgment with others to minimize our own feelings of guilt over similar deeds--or desires.
So let's leave the process of fixing exact liability to courts and insurance companies. Let's forgive others their faults and make amends for our wrongs.
There are few things you can do which are less profitable than taking another person's inventory. When we do so, we usually end up in the position of the "woman who went to a psychiatrist wearing a strip of bacon over each ear and a fried egg on top of her head. She said to him, 'I've come to see you about my brother.'" [Vance Havner, Pepper 'N Salt, p. 72] We must concentrate on our own shortcomings!
This does not mean that we are to be blind to real evil. The Bible warns, "Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness..." (Isaiah 5:20). It does mean, as one translator renders verse 1, "Stop pronouncing censorious criticisms..." [Kenneth Wuest, The Gospels, p. 53] James Denney warns, "The natural man loves to find fault; it gives him at the cheapest rate the comfortable feeling of superiority." [John Randolph Taylor, God Loves Like That!, p. 180]
Those feelings of superiority are the very opposite of the love we must develop if we are to find the freedom we seek. "If I do not give a friend 'the benefit of the doubt,' but put the worst construction instead of the best on what is said or done, then I know nothing of Calvary love." [Amy Carmichael, If, p. 35] "If I can easily discuss the shortcomings and the sins of any; if I can speak in a casual way even of a child's misdoings, then I know nothing of Calvary love." [ibid., p. 6] "If it's very painful for you to criticize your friends, you're safe in doing it. But if you take the slightest pleasure in it, that's the time to hold your tongue." [Jacob Baude, Second Encyclopedia of Stories, Quotations and Anecdotes, #552]
"Then as now, some wanted a Messiah who would meet all their own needs and desires; but Jesus turned out to be a Messiah who demands shameful death to self-interest. Self-fulfillment, even in following Jesus the Messiah, depends on self-abnegation; whereas pursuit of self-interest results only in frustration, death, and judgment when the Son of Man comes again..." [D. A. Carson, God With Us, p. 101] "None so empty as those who are full of them- selves." [Benjamin Whichcote in The Oxford Book of Aphorisms, p. 62]
"If the ten thousand talents were gold, it would be worth over a billion dollars in today's currency. Over against that staggering sum is the 100 denarii--about 100 days' wages for a common laborer, perhaps five thousand dollars. The purpose of the parable was not to suggest that we can earn the king's forgiveness by forgiving others, but to point out that all the for-giveness we are called upon to grant is a mere speck when compared with the grotesque amount for which we need forgiveness by the king." [D. A. Carson, God With Us, p. 113-114]
"A southern boy was arraigned in juvenile court for stealing a watermelon. He was guilty. ...The judge asked, 'Is there anything you wish to say before I pass sentence?' The boy thought for a minute, then said, 'Judge, have YOU ever stolen a watermelon?' A painful silence per- vaded the court room. Finally the judge blurted out, 'No cross examination allowed! CASE DISMISSED!'" [Knight's Master Book of New Illustrations, p. 627]
"The easiest words for self to utter are: 'It's your fault.' The hardest words for self to utter are: 'I blew it.'... Do you realize how many relationships could be salvaged right now if one of the people in the relationship would confess to wrong.... But confessing and apologizing are so difficult for us that we would rather be estranged from people than swallow our pride and take some steps toward reconciliation." [Judson Edwards, What They Never Told Us About How To Get Along With Each Other, p. 23]
"Perhaps there is not a more effectual key to the discovery of hypocrisy than a censorious temper. The man possessed of real virtue knows the difficulty of attaining it; and is, of course, more inclined to pity others, who happen to fail in the pursuit." [William Shenstone, Essays on Men and Manners, 1764, in The Oxford Book of Aphorisms, p. 198]
"To survive the day is triumph enough for the walking wounded among the great many of us." [Studs Terkel in A Treasury of Business Quotations, #301]
"Humility is indispensable for God's scholars." [A. F. Kirkpatrick, The Book of Psalms, p. 134]
"...Authentic spiritual growth is accompanied by increasing awareness of one's own need for God's mercy rather than pride in one's holiness." [Gerald May, Addiction and Grace, p. 53]
6. How am I to respond to those who hurt me?
"The soft answer is the water to quench--grievous words are the oil to stir up, the fire. And this is, alas! man's natural propensity, to feed rather than to quench, the angry flame.... Soft and healing words gain a double victory--over ourselves and our brother." [Charles Bridges, An Exposition of Proverbs, p. 196]
"...In Christ's teaching....the duty of unlimited forgiveness is most plainly enjoined. but not that weak forgiveness which consists simply in permitting a man to trespass as he chooses. For- giveness and faithfulness go hand in hand. The forgiveness of the Christian is in no case to be the offspring of a weak...indifference to wrong. It is to spring from gratitude and love: gratitude to God, Who has forgiven his enormous debt, and love to the enemy who has wronged him. It must be combined with that faithfulness and fortitude which constrains him to go to the offending party and frankly though kindly, tell him his fault." [John Monro Gibson, "The Gospel of St. Matthew," The Expositor's Bible IV, p. 763]
"The trespasses referred to are of course real. Much...needless trouble often comes of 'offenses' which exist only in imagination... Such offenses are not worthy of consideration at all. It is further observed that our Lord is not dealing with ordinary quarrels where there are faults on both sides, in which case the first step would not be to tell the brother his fault but to acknowledge our own. The trespass, then, being real, and the fault all on the other side, how is the disciple of Christ to react?... Pay no heed to it?... That might be the best way to deal with offenses on the part of those that are without; but it would be a sad want of true brotherly love to take this easy way with a fellow-disciple. It is certainly better to overlook an injury than to resent it; yet our Lord shows a more excellent way. His is not the way of selfish resentment nor of haughty indifference; but of thoughtful concern for the welfare of him who has done the injury.... If a man sets out with the object of gaining his cause or getting satisfaction, he had better let it alone; but if he wishes, not to gain a barren triumph for himself, but to gain his brother, let him proceed according to the wise instructions of our Lord and Master." [ibid., p. 762]
"The conduct here recommended is beautifully exemplified in the case of our Lord praying for those that crucified Him, and Stephen praying for those who stoned him. Luke xxiii.34; Acts vii.60." [J. C. Ryle, "Luke," Expository Thoughts on the Gospels I, p. 187]
"The act of forgiving...is a wonderfully simple act; but it always happens inside a storm of complex emotions. It is the hardest trick in the whole bag of personal relationships....
"We forgive in four stages. If we can travel through all four, we achieve the climax of reconciliation.
"The first stage is hurt: when somebody causes you pain so deep and unfair that you cannot forget it...
"The second stage is hate: you cannot shake the memory of how much you were hurt, and you cannot wish your enemy well. You sometimes want the person who hurt you to suffer as you are suffering.
"The third stage is healing: you...see the person who hurt you in a new light. Your memory is healed, you turn back the flow of pain and are free again.
"The fourth stage is the coming together: you invite the person who hurt you back into your life; if he or she comes honestly, love can move you both toward a new and healed relationship. The fourth stage depends on the person you forgive as much as it depends on you; sometimes he doesn't come back and you have to be healed alone." [Lewis Smedes, Forgive and Forget, p. 18]
Forgiveness is a process which usually takes time and may need to be repeated. You can have forgiven to the best of your ability only to find unwanted anger in your heart again. Don't let such feelings make you believe you did not truly forgive. New feelings have come from your subconscious. Simply repeat the process of forgiveness until such feelings arise no more.
"Never get into a spraying match with a skunk." [Mark Hatfield in Leadership, p. 204]
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." [Eleanor Roosevelt in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, p. 786, #12]
"To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it." [Confucius in Leadership, p. 203]
"First, what does the word restore mean? The Greek word is used in the New Testament for the mending of nets and for the setting of a broken bone.... Restoration means that a fallen believer is back in full fellowship with God and the church....
"Second, who should take the initiative? Paul's answer is 'you who are spiritual.'... The spiritual person....knows that if a brother has been wounded, then he has been wounded too. He is sensitive and realizes that if a broken bone is not set properly, it may never heal properly... More importantly, he knows that his own heart could commit the same sin given the right circumstances. He knows that the only difference between himself and the other is the grace of God.
"...Third...: How should one go? 'With a spirit of gentleness.' If a person has a broken bone, he does not want it pushed into place with a crowbar." [Erwin Lutzer, When A Good Man Falls, p. 129-131]
"...If ye see any brother cast down and afflicted by occasion of sin which he hath committed, run unto him, and reaching out your hand, raise him up again, comfort him with sweet words, and embrace him with motherly arms. As for those that be hard-hearted and obstinate, which without fear continue careless in their sins, rebuke them sharply." [Martin Luther, A Com- mentary on St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians, p. 538]
"...Hath not Nature taught us the same that the apostle here doth, by giving us two ears, and those open; and but one tongue, and that hedged in with teeth and lips?" [John Trapp, A Com- mentary or Exposition Upon All the Books of the New Testament, p. 695]
"If your heart is a volcano how shall you expect flowers to bloom in your hands?" [Kahil Gibran, Sand and Foam, p. 36]
I Peter 3:8-16
"To render railing for railing, is to think to wash off dirt with dirt." [John Trapp, A Com- mentary or Exposition Upon All the Books of the New Testament, p. 711]
The question of how to deal with people who have wounded us is more complicated than the question of how to deal with those we have hurt. The Bible teaches that there are times to speak, and times to be silent; times to confront, and times to forbear. How are we to know what to do in a given situation?
When in doubt, we can always seek counsel from our step coach or the one to whom we made our confession. We cannot make others responsible for our choices, but we can get insights and ask for prayer from those we trust to help us choose wisely. We alone are responsible for our decisions, but we need not decide alone.
Having sought the advice of friends, we can also lay the matter before our heavenly Father. We can ask Him to show us our own hearts (Psalm 139:23,24). We can ask for wisdom (James 1:5). We can ask God to give us and the ones we are called to confront a right spirit and a tender, loving, humble heart.
Now we must make our decision and act on it. Remember, there is no perfection here. We are not the Creator, but merely creatures; not infinite, but limited; not infallible, but liable to err. Further, we are not sinless creatures, but fallen ones. God has not chosen to perfect us at conversion, but calls us to grow up into Christ in all things (Ephesians 4:15). Sin can still put one over on us, but we do not have to let our lack of perfection paralyze us. We are counted righteous in Christ (Romans 4:5; 8:1), and, if we err, have learned how to correct our faults through working this step.
Finally, let us not make the mistake of thinking that if we do everything right, we will be loved; but, if we are rejected, we must have done something wrong. We do not follow the Bible to control the responses of others. We follow the Bible because we love the God who gave it and have entrusted our lives to Him. As we do so, many people will respond positively to us; others will not. Jesus "did no sin" (I Peter 2:22) but was "despised and rejected of men" (Isaiah 53:3). "The servant is not greater than his lord" (John 15:20). Let us do our best, trust in Christ, and commit ourselves "to him that judgeth righteously" (I Peter 2:23).
MY EXPERIENCE WORKING STEP 10
Fear of rejection has always been a major problem for me. That fear made even thinking about working Step 10 painful. Still, making amends is an integral part of recovery. If I really want to enjoy freedom, I simply have to build this pattern into my life.
In the past, my pattern had been to avoid people who were angry with me as much as possible. When I couldn't stay away from them, I studiously avoided the subject which had led to trouble between us. The result was that we were always tense when we were together and so stayed away from one another whenever we could.
I'll never forget the first time I broke with the old pattern and put on the new. I went to see my former insurance agent on business. He had been a member of the church of which I had been pastor and, like others, had been deeply hurt by the exposure of my homosexuality. When our business was completed, I asked if he would close the door so I could speak to him about some- thing personal. As soon as the door was closed I said, "I've failed you both as a pastor and as a man and I want to ask your forgiveness."
Tears came to his eyes and he called his wife into the office. He told her what I had said and added, "You can't ask for more than that a man admit that he's been wrong." He and his wife took my hands and offered heartfelt prayer for me. Few experiences in my life have been more healing.
I'm still in the process of making amends to those I've hurt. Most have responded kindly; some needed time to work through their hurts; a few have been unwilling to forgive; one or two would not even hear me. Whatever the response, I have the peace that comes from knowing I am doing what I can to rectify my past failures. Some of the people I wounded are now among my staunchest supporters, so I am less alone. I've found that making amends enables me to move on in my life with a clear conscience, unfettered by the past, and that feels good!
HOW YOU CAN WORK STEP 10
1) Make a list of those to whom you need to make amends as outlined at the beginning of this chapter.
2) In your journal, write what you want to say to the first person on your amends-making list and discuss what you have written with your step coach. If wise and possible, make an appointment to make amends with that person and report the outcome to your step coach.
3) Listen to the tape Restoration under "STEPS 8-10" on the "HA Book Ministry" list. Read Experience, Strength and Hope up to Step 11 and continue reading the book your step coach recommended to help you with Steps 8-14. Continue to work in your workbook. Journal what you are learning from all of this and share your findings with your step coach.
4) Memorize one of the verses you found helpful in this chapter.
All the way my Savior leads me--
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt his tender mercy
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in him to dwell--
For I know, whate'er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.
All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for ev'ry trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread,
Though my weary steps may falter,
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the rock before me,
Lo, a spring of joy I see!
All the way my Savior leads me--
O the fulness of his love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father's house above:
When my spirit, clothed, immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day,
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way!
Fanny J. Crosby