Wednesday, February 3, 2010

When We Have to Make Amends

“David asked the Gibeonites, ‘What shall I do for you? How will I make amends so that you will bless the LORD’s inheritance?’”

~2 Samuel 21:3 (NIV).

It’s a fair enough question. How do we make restitution for our wrongs? Perhaps the answer lies with the person we’ve wronged. And we all wrong people, without exception.

In King David’s example, Saul his predecessor had put the sword to the Gibeonites in contravention of Israel’s oath to spare them. David saw that this could only harm his country’s intention for blessing; the receipt of blessing. God does not look kindly on ignored, passed-over injustice.

And this is truly how any of us feel—in our right minds and hearts—when we’ve wronged someone. We need to make up. We are compelled to it because the grating inside is unbearable. This is the conscience, living and active, showing a spiritually healthy specimen.

In Recovery programs all over the globe the centre-piece is the Twelve Steps. Steps eight and nine are about making amends to all the people we’ve wronged (so far as it’s in our control) after we’ve made a careful and exhaustive moral inventory.

And Step Eight instructs us that we make:

“Direct amends to such people [we have wronged] wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

Amends are crucial. They provide an opening to forgiveness. Some won’t take this opening, but there are many more that do. Amends starts with us. It is our ticket to freedom, though it’s not our reason for doing it—freedom is the by-product. The main product is the soul wellness of the other person.

Now a quick caution: the way we make amends... it is never in a way, time or place that could bring even more hurt. Never. Amends must always be coated in meekness, gentleness and consummate, heartfelt humility to work.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Reference: Alcoholics Anonymous Australia, The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Retrieved 3 February 2010.

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