“A Christ-centered approach to recovery and coordinating small group meetings”

Step Nine 

“Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” 

This is another step that takes courage.  It means facing some people we might never want to deal with again except that we are involved in a program of recovery.  This step is necessary for us to get better and to get on with our lives.  This step is the last big action step in putting our past behind us so that we can get on with our present and future. 

We don’t go off half cocked  and charging ahead on this step without due thought and prayer. This step takes wisdom, discernment and timing.  With our best and enthusiastic intention, we can harm others even more if we don’t approach this process in a responsible manner.  We don’t want to end up making amends for the mistakes we made in making amends. 

There are certain amends that we can go forward and correct on an immediate basis and as the Lord provides the opportunity.  Those are our financial debts.  As money becomes available to meet our past financial obligations we can pay these debts without too much worry that we will hurt someone’s feelings. 

However, if it was a financial debt that involved some illegal activity or to a party that may do us or another harm, we may want to consider approaching the issue in some safe way.  If it was some shady business deal that might implicate another in our attempt to clean up our act, we need to check our motives and thoroughly consider our approach. 

Maybe our amends involves a destructive relationship from our past.  We need to consider them at this point, and their welfare.  A letter might do a better job than a personal visit in this case.  No communication with the individual at all might be the right thing, especially if it would cause them a problem with a current spouse, lover or friend. 

If we run into a situation where we can’t make direct amends without doing further harm to another, we may want to write a letter to them and not mail it.  We can discard of the letter after we have sincerely expressed our regrets in writing.  We can also do this by using the “empty chair” method.  We picture in our minds the person who we are making amends to be sitting in an empty chair and speak the words that are necessary to bring closure to the matter. 

There may have been some people we have harmed in some way that have passed away or moved to an unknown location.  In these cases we will have no choice but to use an alternate method of making amends. 

The main point is that we make amends wherever possible and that we are willing to do so.  If we are willing to make amends and it is not possible to do so at this time, that means that it is God’s will that we do it at a different time.  The Lord doesn’t lead us to do the impossible. 

The Lord will provide us the opportunity to make things right according to His perfect timing.  If we have surrendered to the Lord and continue to yield to Him on a daily basis, He will order our steps in the amends process.   “God shall supply all of your needs.” (Philippians 4:19)

Jesus makes it clear that if we are going to be right with Him, we have to get right with others: 

“Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go your way.  First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”  (Matthew 5:23?24)

Go to Step 10