Made direct amends to people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Step 9 is a culmination of the forgiveness process: forgiving ourselves and others, receiving forgiveness from God and others. But before we can forgive ourselves fully, we must first acknowledge the pain others have suffered because of our actions. Once through this process we will be closer to our goal of peace with ourselves and peace with others.
By taking inventory with Step 4 we’ve purged ourselves of hidden secrets and wrongs doings but maintained balance by looking for the good as well. In Step 5 we pressed through the shame confessing our faults to another person. Now armed with the list of persons we harmed from Step 8, we prepare to personally make amends for the things we have done.
There are going to be people that we can’t make amends to for various reasons, but where possible we must take this important step. A commitment to changed behavior can be an acceptable substitute when personal contact to make amends isn’t appropriate.
While painful and difficult, the amends process is critical in the healing process. Prayerfully seek God’s wisdom and discernment before making amends. Phone calls and letters are perfectly acceptable ways of making contact when face to face isn’t possible.
Some basic guidelines:
- Pray. Turn your anxiety over to God.
- Keep a loving attitude toward yourself and the person you’re contacting.
- Know what you want to say. Keep it simple. Avoid details.
- Take responsibility for your actions. Don’t make it about them.
- Manage your expectations regarding the other person’s response.
Remember God is a God of restoration. He will give you just the right words and timing to say what needs to be said. Give it all to Him!
If you take your gift to the altar and remember your brother has something against you, leave your gift on the altar. Go and make right what is wrong between you and him. Then come back and give your gift. ~ Matthew 5:23-24 New Life Version