Lesson 16: AMENDS
Tonight’s lesson is about Making Amends
Based on Principle #6
Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others.
AND Step # 8
Make a list of all persons we have harmed and become willing to make amends to them all.
You’ve heard me talk about the dangers of “Isolation” in your recovery – danger sign leads to relapse
Well, Making Amends is the beginning of “the end of isolation” from others and from God
Another way to say it is: “Forgive me, as I learn to forgive others” !!
Going to spend a good deal of time on this over next few weeks b/c so important.
OK, To start off tonight – open up for some feedback from you.
Would anyone be willing to share how you have worked on Principle #6? Specifically - tell me what happened when you EITHER
forgave someone who harmed you OR
where you attempted to make amends for harm you did others
SEGUE: Forgiveness and making Amends are powerful allies on your road to recovery.
Tonight going to see how to do the repair work on our relationships AND why it is so important.
OK, first things first: by making Amends, you bring people back into your life that you may need there.
Now obviously there are some people you don’t want back in your life because they are harmful people (vexations to the spirit) Not talking about those people.
I’m talking about people who matter and who have potential to help you heal.
Still, some of us BALK at making amends.
May say: “If God has forgiven me – isn’t that enough?” OR
“Why should I drag up the past with all that nastiness and junk?” OR
“Making Amends doesn’t sound “NATURAL””
WELL: the answer to those objections is simple:
Making amends is NOT so much about your PAST as it is about your FUTURE.
Before you can have the healthy relationships you desire,
Need to clean house –
Clean out guilt & shame & pain that caused many of your past relationships to fail .
NOW – When you did your inventories, you were asked to “Make a list” of persons we have harmed AND become WILLING to make amends. “Willing” is operative word here.
Next week we will talk about actually going out and “FORGIVING” the people on your list that you need to forgive.
But you can see from step #8 that you are only asked to BE WILLING
LUKE 6:31 is our reference here: It asks us in Luke to treat others the way we want to be treated ourselves.
For some of you – very difficult – maybe deep hurts – abuse – etc.
Sometimes people respond to this step by saying: “Never !!” “I will never forgive him or her for >>>>>”
I fully understand these feelings – been there myself - BUT, these violations or painful wounds are also the root of dysfunction that brings many into the recovery program.
For now; if you are a person who has been abused physically/sexually - listen to how CR “RE-WORDS” Step 8
“Make a list of all persons who have harmed us and become willing to seek God’s help in forgiving our perpetrators, as well as forgiving ourselves. Realize we’ve also harmed others, and become willing to make amends to them.”
Next week we will look closely at a tried and true method for seeking forgiveness and granting it.
OK, now: Let’s move on to the second part of Principle #6: “make amends for harm I’ve done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others.”
Matthew 5: 23-24 puts it all in perspective for us:
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”
This is a CALL TO ACTION in scripture
God is calling us to “go back to the garden” (that is our life), and pull out the dead weeds – dead weeds of our past broken relationships.
WHY? So we can clear the way for our new relationships to be planted and nurtured in healthy soil.
THAT is why principle 6 is so important:
On your handout on right side is YOUR Amends List.
Take the time in your groups tonight to begin filling in this list. Do this BEFORE you come back to the Café time.
Be open to God prompting you to add to this list when he brings someone to your heart.
Remember: all you are doing at this point is writing them down.
OK, then, on left side of your handout is tonight’s acrostic on AMENDS
“A” in Amends stands for ADMIT
Admit what? The “Hurt” & “Harm” !!
We learned in principle #4 how important it is to OPEN UP to God and to others.
Your feelings been bottled up far, far too long
Resulted in messing up your relationships with others & God
Yes, we need to face the (hurts, resentments, wrongs) others have caused in our lives AND those that YOU HAVE CAUSED to OTHERS.
Holding on to resentments forms a BLOCKADE in your recovery ALSO Blocks God’s forgiveness in your life
Luke 6:37 shows us: “Do not judge others, and God will not judge you; do not condemn others, and God will not condemn you; Forgive others, and God will forgive you.”
“M” in AMENDS stands for : “MAKE” the list
A while back we did the INVENTORY. You can use this to help you with your list tonight.
When writing down your list – don’t worry about the “how to’s” in actually making your Amends to these people.
Don’t ask questions like: “How can I ever forgive my brother for what he did? “ OR “How can I ever ask my Father for forgiveness?”
Go ahead – put the person on your list anyway. AND remember Luke 6:31 “treat others the way you want them to treat you.”
NOTE: it does NOT say: “treat others the way you want to be treated in general” NO, it says “…the way you want THEM (be specific here) (expand on this: Put “Father”, “Wife”, “Boss”, etc.) to treat you…”
ALRIGHT NOW, the “E” in AMENDS stands for “ENCOURAGE one another”
Someone said: “encouragement is oxygen for the soul”
So, before you go off to make amends OR ask forgiveness, MEET with your Sponsor or Accountability Partner – someone you can trust to encourage you in this process.
ASK them to help you check your MOTIVES for doing this.
Hebrews 10:24 says:
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
If you are asked to encourage – do so. Be honored.
The “N” in AMENDS is the reason for making the amends in the first place - stands for “NOT for them”
Need to remember when you approach someone to make amends: Need to do it with HUMILITY & CARING. Don’t go into it EXPECTING something back.
You are making your amends – not for a reward, but for freedom from your Hurts, habits, and hang-ups.
God loves us generously – even on our worst day – so we can try to do likewise
Did you know that you can get addicted to BITTERNESS – RESENTMENT _ ANGER (me) – HATRED - REVENGE ????????
A life addicted to these things will kill you as surely as drugs or alcohol
Will ALSO produce Depression, despair and discouragement in your life.
An unforgiving heart will cause you more pain and misery & destruction than it will ever cause the person who hurt you.
Let’s move on to the letter “D” in AMENDS. Stands for “DO it at the right time”
This principle not only requires courage & willingness – also requires a careful sense of timing.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says: “There is a right time for everything.”
There is time to LET things happen AND a time to MAKE things happen
SO; BEFORE you make amends, PRAY about it. Ask Jesus for His guidance AND His perfect timing.
You will know it when it comes. Feel like holy ground.
Principle 6 also says at the end: “…except when to do so would harm others…”
(ASK: Can you think of examples where you could do harm by offering forgiveness and making amends?)
Philippians 2:4 is our guide here: “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Don’t wait until you “FEEL” like making amends OR offering your forgiveness.
OK - last letter is “S” sands for START living the promises of recovery .
Promise is one of TRUE FREEDOM & PEACE of mind & heart - you will find that SERENITY we pray about each week.
The result of that is: realizing God’s purpose for our lives that we may have long since lost sight of.
God promises in Joel 2:25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.”