We gave up, and then cleaned up and now we are ready to make up – restore relationships with God and others and repair damage we have caused as best as we can.
Step 7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
“But if we confess our sins to Him, He can be depended on to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.” – 1 John 1:9
Humble: modest and unassuming in attitude and behavior; feeling or showing respect and deference toward other people; without pretension
Shortcoming-A deficiency; a flaw.
Our inventory disclosed much about our flaws in character and how those defects harmed both us and others near to us. The first part of this process of restoration has to be with God. It is our relationship with Him that is the key to our new way of living. Our former path led away from God and we now wish to draw near. We begin by coming to Him in prayer, asking for His cleansing of us. We do this as we assume a position of humility-complete submission to God’s authority. When we seek to follow Him we acknowledge that we need His power and strength to do His bidding as replacement for our own meager attempts at control. As we offer our flaws for removal He will replace them with His fruit to carry out His will for us. Our relationship with Him is based on our humble offering of our flaws and deficiencies for removal so that we may better serve Him. In essence, we ask and wait; secure in the knowledge that He will grow us for His purpose. Our pride is reduced as soon as we begin this step, and in asking to be made useful to others our self-centeredness begins to fade. As our humility grows we start to become unselfish and we put the welfare of others ahead of our own, and restore our relationship to Him.
Step 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
“If you are standing before the altar…and suddenly remember that a friend has something against you, leave your sacrifice there and go and be reconciled…and then come and offer your sacrifice to God. “ – Matthew5:23-24
Harmed-Physically or psychologically injured or damaged.
Willing-Disposed or inclined; prepared; acting or ready to act gladly; done, given, accepted, or borne voluntarily or ungrudgingly
Amend-To change for the better; improve; to remove the faults or errors in; correct
We may wish to start this step with our list of “harms done others” from our 4th step inventory and add to it those individuals we injured even though we held no resentment toward them. Even if we felt they “deserved it” we still put them down. We need to list everyone we are aware of. We demonstrate our willingness to make amends through forgiveness of others as well as ourselves. We consider each individual and what we can and should do to repair or at least improve the position of the relationship from where we left it. If we do not want to set things right with another, we ask God for the willingness and pray for that individual to have everything we could want for ourselves. We are releasing our own selfishness to grow in our relationship with God, which means we learn to want others to prosper. As we put others well-being ahead of our own, we grow in humility, unselfishness, and brotherly love for others. Our old relationships will be reconciled and new and healthy ones will form. We become willing, without reservation or expectations, to do what is right-to show our love for others.
Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends. – John 15:13
Step 9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
“You can pray for anything, and if you believe, you have it; it’s yours! But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive you your sins too.” – Mark 11:24-25
Direct-Straightforward and candid; frank: Having no intervening persons, conditions, or agencies; immediate
Wherever-In or to whatever place
We have our list of names and what we are willing to do to repair the injuries we have caused by our old behavior. Just as we sought to share our 5th step with another human being, it is important that we review our intentions with someone else before proceeding. Is our motive for the benefit of the other party? We want to make amends, not to cause more harm. In some cases it may be that the best course of action is to not reopen “old wounds” by bringing back painful memories of the past. The insight provided by others that have worked this step themselves is invaluable. Restitution should be made for all debts, and any apology offered should be accompanied with positive action and sincere effort to “clean our side of the street”. We only present our own faults and make whatever reparation we can. We ask for the strength and guidance we need to do the right thing regardless of the personal consequences we may face.
Response to our attempts may range from being held fully accountable to being excused, but we must be ready for the full consequences of our past acts and take responsibility for the well being of others at the same time. Forgiving others releases us from resentment toward them and making amends may release them from their resentment toward us.
Our amends are to be direct. We may find it necessary to travel, but we trust God to put the individual before us when the time is right. We may write letters or make phone calls to initiate the process, but we try to be as direct as we can. The most important amends we make is that we are no longer the person who would treat others so poorly.
Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil. – Proverbs 16:6
When we humble ourselves and ask God to rid us of our flaws of character, we begin to clear a channel for His love to flow through us. We seek to amend our wrongs toward others out of both love and justice. By loving our neighbors as we love ourselves we obey God’s command and come to know His love for us even more. Our relationships with others grow as well.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-6
As we continue to make our amends we grow in our love for God, for others and ourselves as His servants. We continue to release the shame and guilt of our past by offering to set past wrongs right. Even when our offers are refused, we have planted a seed of love and forgiveness which still may blossom and bring healing later. The result of our action is a new freedom from the past for us and we see how our experience can help others. We begin to know peace and happiness as never before. The realization comes that God is changing us, indeed He is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. – Galatians 5:13
Overcomers Outreach uses the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Holy Bible to discover the wisdom of God and apply His teachings to our daily lives. We claim Jesus Christ as our “higher power” and share our trials and victories with one another in a confidential and secure environment. We meet weekly in loving support of one another, not as a substitute for, but rather a supplement to other 12 step groups. We are non-professional and non-profit, and we welcome anyone who is not opposed to our general method of recovery, whatever his or her presenting problem.
The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous teach us how to apply principles of living as God would have us live. One way to understand the steps is to group them into four parts: give up, clean up, make up and grow up. First we learn the principles by “working” the steps, then apply these same principles to our daily walk.
For more information or to find a meeting, contact us:
6528 Greenleaf Ave., Ste. 223 Whittier, CA 90601