Step 8: We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
23 Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift at the altar and go. First make things right with your brother or sister and then come back and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24, CEB
Yesterday we mentioned how the act of preparing a list of amends and being ready to deliver it is, in itself, a spiritual act. I often use these verses to demonstrate this.
In theory, I suppose, we’re only making a truly exhaustive list once. Perhaps if we go a while without doing any kind of step 8 work then we’ll pile up another list of people that we need to make amends to. As we learn to practice these principles in all our affairs, though, then we might have a more organic process in place of 1. offending someone and then 2. making amends when we realize what we’ve done.
Again, things aren’t ever going to be quite that neat. We’ll miss some things or not realize some things or simply ignore some things and we may compile little lists of people who we need to make amends to. Hopefully it’s never quite as out of control as the first time. But…who knows? Anything can happen. I think the beauty of dealing with the whole list that first time through step 8 is that it feels like a truly fresh start once you’ve made the list and prepared to make the amends. Now, granted, you may not feel like you have much of a clean slate until the amends have actually been made, but either way I think the point is the same. Dealing with a list is difficult. It can be overwhelming. But it’s also a reminder that we haven’t left anything in the lurch. We’ve gone through and tried to address everything we can think of. Regardless of whether we accidentally miss something, we’ve been as thorough as we can be in that moment. That’s a beautiful thing and it creates a scenario where we’re released from a buildup of regrets and can make a move into freedom. So, as difficult as it can be, there’s so much positive that can come out of it.
What’s your experience with Step 8?