Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
12 Therefore, you should treat people in the same way that you want people to treat you; this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12, CEB
Yesterday I wrote about a failed attempt to be non-defensive in my life. Someone approached me to tell me about a harm I had caused. I had the opportunity to offer amends. Instead, I began explaining myself, as we’re so often tempted to do.
When I think about the times where I’ve had to voice a harm done to me, the response I appreciate most is the non-defensive response. People who are really good at offering amends don’t explain themselves. At least, they don’t explain themselves right away. They first acknowledge the harm and offer amends. Then, if it seems necessary, they may offer some form of explanation. Sometimes explanations can help undo some of the harm. This isn’t the norm- and it takes a skilled and self-aware friend to know when and how to explain.
Why, then, did I try to explain myself? Because, like shame, the desire to defend myself is strong and instinctive and I have yet to develop an equally strong habit of speaking back to it.
I’m not yet where I want to be- but the process of learning is an important one. Many people struggle to recognize that we are all hypocrites. I tend to cause harm in very similar ways to the people who harm me. It seems so obvious that if we’re used to being hurt in a certain way then we would avoid hurting others in that way. But, we don’t.
Why is this?