2002-11-16 - Twelve Steps for Christian Living
Steps 1-7 can be found at http://www.cfdevotionals.org/links/authdave.htm
Step 8 - Make a list of all persons we have harmed and become willing to make amends to them all.
Matthew 4:3-5 (NLT) And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye.
In Step 7, we looked inward at ourselves and asked God to humbly remove our shortcomings. In Step 8, we are going to look outward at those we have harmed and become willing to make amends. Again this is a step of preparation. We become willing to love others as ourselves.
Step Eight is a preparatory step, much like Step 4. We need to be able to take a close, hard and honest look at our actions and ourselves. This needs to be done without the great denial part of us telling ourselves that we are perfect and everyone else is at fault. We need to avoid self-justification of our actions. We need to stop saying "Lord, why is everyone against me? Why can't people see things my way? Why can't people be like me?" Instead, we need to say "Lord, help me see how my sinful nature has harmed others, and Lord, make me willing and humble enough to make amends to them all."
This is a step that looks at our personal relationships with others and how those damaged relationships prevent us from having a closer relationship with God. Our God is a God that loves relationships. He loves relationships with us and us have good solid relationship with others. Broken relationships usually harbor pain, guilt, resentment and other relationship blocking emotions inside us. These emotions as pains must be cleaned out of our dark moldy basements of our past.
So, how do I start with Step 8? Just as with Step 4, a written list of all those people you have harmed is the best way to start. Ask yourself: Who have I harmed? How did I harm them? What was the result of my action toward them? Do you see a pattern of behavior that is damaging to those around you? Make your list and pray, âLord, make me willing to be forgiving of myself, my actions and able to attempt to make amends.
Mark 11:22 (NLT) But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.
For me, I do not believe Step Eight can be done without a mentor, sponsor or trusted Christian friend looking over your list, to give you an unbiased opinion of it. This is essential before moving on to Step 9. In addition, we must be very healthy spiritually to do Step 8. These 12 Steps are a lifelong process. Step 8 comes down the road of maturity gained from Steps 1-7. There is absolutely no need to rush through this process. Walk slowly, tread lightly, honoring God along the way. Then He, in turn, will honor your actions.
Hebrews 12:14 (NIV) Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
Point to Ponder: "Sin always blocks our vision of God, so if we want to see God, we must remove it from our lives. Holiness is coupled with peacestaying out of quarrels. A right relationship with God leads to right relationships with fellow believers. Although we will not always feel love toward all believers, we must pursue peace as we become more Christlike. Pursue peace by making things right with someone you've wronged." (Life Application Bible)
Lord, may we be instruments of peace, within our families, our church, our community, our nation, and our world, until true peace comes with the coming of Your Son. Lord create in us a spirit that makes us willing to make amends to others that we have harmed. In His name, amen.