by: Staci Stallings
So far, we’ve looked at 7 of the 12-Steps in the 12-Step AA program and talked about how each relates to our journey to understand just how much we need Jesus in our lives.
Here are the first 7 for review:
- Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable
- Step 2 – Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
- Step 3 – Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God
- Step 4 – Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
- Step 5 – Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
- Step 6 – Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
- Step 7 – Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings
Now we come to #8:
- Step 8 – Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all
There is one word that sums this one up: Contrition.
Contrition is the recognition that you were wrong. Maybe you were wrong in your assessment of the situation and so you yelled at your child who was innocent of the charges. Or maybe you were judgmental toward someone–condemning them and not giving them a second chance. Maybe you have stolen something or lied about someone. Maybe it’s desiring what they have to the point of envy and jealousy.
In Step #8, we stop lying to ourselves that our actions have been “justified.”
This is much like the abusive husband who for years says things like, “Well, I wouldn’t have hit you if you hadn’t…” Or the parent who says, “If you would just…” Or the teacher who says, “I’ve had it. No more recess for ANYONE!”
Now the truth is… no matter the justification, we are always in direct control of our own actions and response to the situation.
Don’t believe me?
How about St. Stephen being stoned for his faith? He could have justified turning his back on God to escape certain death, but he CHOSE not to.
How about the mother who stays up all night nursing a sick child? She could be justified in just going to bed, after all, she’s exhausted.
How about the child now taking care of an invalid parent–whether at home or in a nursing home? They could justify not going to see them because after all, they are really, very busy, but instead, they choose to MAKE the time.
How about the alcoholic who wants to reach for that drink because after all, it’s been a hard day but instead CHOOSES to go to a meeting?
How about that boss who yells at the workers because after all, if we don’t get the sales up, the whole place might have to close, but who CHOOSES to treat his workers as humans and finds ways to work together to keep the business going?
Do you see how even when you think you “have no choice,” you really do?
I think that’s what Step #8 is all about; Taking full responsibility for those times we have justified acting in hurt rather than in love in our lives.
Is this easy?
And that’s exactly WHY you need Jesus–not to condemn you but to show you, here is where you made an error. Once we see where the errors are and were, only then can we begin to work to make them right. Otherwise, we are left on a floating sea of lies that will only get more and more angry the longer we choose to live there.
This is a great step in unlocking those chains holding your spirit. Recognize: I need Jesus, and I need to be honest.
It’s a great place to start.