Step 8 is all about Willingness…..”…became willing to make amends…..”
Every single one of us that has ever lived has harmed someone, somewhere at some point in our lives. Either we spoke to harshly towards someone or perhaps we told a lie thinking they wouldn’t know or maybe we forgot to do something that was important to someone else.
Quite often, like little children, we will make excuses for our actions. “Well, she started it!” or “He snapped at me first so I snapped back!”. Here’s a good one, “I didn’t want to hurt her feelings so I told a little white lie.”. We rationalize wrong doings all the time and in many ways and we have horrible role models in celebrities & politicians (but they could easily fill up a post of their own so I won’t get into them). Maybe the other person did treat us poorly first but that has no bearing on how we CHOOSE to act. Its not like we couldn’t control ourselves and had no choice but to yell or lie and so on. We do know right from wrong, right?
In making our list we must be thorough. We must look for things we neglected to do or things we left undone that hurt others. We can’t leave out the little things either. We have to think honestly about the harm we caused others as we were thinking about ourselves, even if we weren’t aggressive toward them. Admit the harm we did to loved ones, friends, co-workers by being irresponsible, moody, critical, impatient and shameful. Searching for anything large or small that added to another person’s burdens & worries or that saddened or challenged them in any way. Look for lies we told or promises we broke, ways we manipulated or used others to get what we wanted. Listing everyone living or dead who was affected. Our step 4 inventory may be a useful guide in this process.
Quite often, as we make our list and we are remembering the wrongs we have done, shame and guilt will come to the surface. Remember, we gave those to the Lord when we confessed our wrongs to him in Step 5. Let him lift the burdens of guilt and shame as we take one more honest look at troubles in our relationships and the part we played in them. By becoming willing to make amends, we benefit from the peace that comes with knowing that the Lord is pleased with our efforts. This step helps us take the actions that enable Him to set us free from our past…..almost like a clean slate.
It shows a lot of maturity and spiritual growth when we become the kind of person that readily admits the wrongs we do toward others……doing it because we recognize the fault in ourselves and we want to do better, not because someone else pointed it out and told us to.
If this is the kind of person you have become….congrats! You’ve come a long way!! As for me, I’m still a work in progress