We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
Scripture Reading: Leviticus 4:22-26
“When a ruler sins unintentionally by straying from one of the commands of his God which must not be broken, he is guilty. When he becomes aware of the sin he has committed, he must bring a goat for his offering, a male without any defect, lay his hand on the head of the goat, and slaughter it in the place where they slaughter the Whole-Burnt-Offering in the presence of GOD–it’s an Absolution-Offering. The priest will then take some of the blood of the Absolution-Offering with his finger, smear it on the horns of the Altar of Whole-Burnt-Offering, and pour the rest at the base of the Altar. He will burn all its fat on the Altar, the same as with the fat of the Peace-Offering. “The priest makes atonement for him on account of his sin and he’s forgiven.
In Romans 7:18-19 Paul says “I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway.”
Most of us can relate to this scripture, you don’t enter into a recovery meeting with the intention of getting it wrong. But sometimes we do, sometimes our best intentions lead to us doing the wrong thing. In our relationships we sometimes hurt others unintentionally and even though we might find it hard to admit and accept others hurt us unintentionally.
- God knows our real intentions. Numbers 14:40 Early the next morning they started out for the high hill country, saying, “We’re here; we’re ready–let’s go up and attack the land that God promised us. We sinned, but now we’re ready.”
When the Israelite’s realized their foolish mistakes, they were ready to return to God. But God didn’t confuse their admission of guilt with true repentance, because He knew their hearts. It is the same for us in recovery. Doing the right thing just for the sake of doing the right thing isn’t what recovery is about. Recovery is about obedience to God’s Word.
2. Good intentions can become our reality with Christ’s help. Matthew 14:29-30 He said,”Come ahead.” Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried,”Master,save me!”
We come to recovery with good intentions and sometimes things happen, our faith in the process falters and we start to lose heart. This doesn’t mean we have failed. Peter’s faith faltered. When it did he reached out to the only one he believed could help him, Jesus. When we think about the process of making amends we too need to reach out to Jesus for help. We need to remember the decision we made in step three to ‘turn our wills and lives over to Him and trust Him to help us.
3. God knows the real intentions of our hearts. Matthew 21:28-31 “What do you think about this? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ “‘I will not,’ the son answered. But later he changed his mind and went. “Then the father went to the other son. He said the same thing. The son answered, ‘I will, sir.’ But he did not go. “Which of the two sons did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “What I’m about to tell you is true.
Like the first son we sometimes our first reaction is to say no, especially when it comes to facing people we have harmed, admitting we were wrong and making amends to them. In recovery we have made a commitment to live life the way God wants us to live. That includes cleaning up the past. If we choose to in the recovery process we can learn to say all the right things, to appear to do all the right things, but that won’t lead to recovery. Recovery is not about pretending to obey God and going through the motions. Our actions need to match our words.
We are responsible for the mistakes of our past. This is true, even when the hurts we caused of the harm we have done was unintentional. People don’t hurt less because we didn’t mean it. We need to acknowledge and correct the unintentional hurts we have caused as soon as we become aware of them. God forgives all our sins, even the ones we might not have discovered yet.