Meeting sin head-on

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8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Has anybody noticed we’ve been stuck between Step 8 and Step 9 for a while now?

Here’s one thing I’m learning about the Twelve Steps. You don’t work through them as if you were going through a grocery list, marking off items as you put them in your shopping cart. As soon as you try to wrap up a step, you realize something you missed about an earlier step, or you learn a deeper ramification about a step than what you previously surmised. This is why people can be in their 27th year of recovery still going to AA meetings and still “working” the steps. You never complete a step. You “work” the steps. They are doorways into things we need to face, change or remember about ourselves and our relationships with God and others.

We are entangled in sin and the Twelve Steps are a means of disentanglement. The beauty is, unlike anything else, this program faces this head-on.

So often among Christians, the assumption is that we are signed, sealed, delivered and going to heaven. The longer we’ve been believers, the better we are presumed to be. Our forgiveness tends to be somewhere in the past when we were sinners, but now we don’t talk about forgiveness very much except for sinners who are coming to Christ for the first time. Sin is thought of as a slip-up — a once in a while mistake and not a continual battle.

In contrast, attendance at an AA meeting presumes an entanglement in sin that we constantly need help with. This is too much for us to pull off on our own. Matters not how long we’ve been coming. And this doesn’t mean we never get over our problems. It means we are weak in our humanity and the temptation to sin is ever before us. We don’t get “cured.” We might get a little stronger — quicker to depend on the Lord — but we don’t get cured. We are close to our sin so we live close to our forgiveness, which makes us more readily able to share the story of our forgiveness with other sinners. The story is always fresh. We aren’t “better than” anyone, but we are hopefully “getting better” than we were.

So it also stands to reason that we can get stuck on a step like I am now. Anyone else having trouble with making amends? I’ve got my list, but I’m not yet willing to do anything about it. Pray for me.

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6 Responses to Meeting sin head-on

  1. Gary says:

    Well, the simple fact becomes like Limon juice on a sore on the lip, we really shouldn’t just take this Step to our grave. It just doesn’t feel good. Courage is the remedy. Not our courage, but supernatural courage, which pushes deep into the battle. Asking us to pray for you, shows me that you know this. As I and all of us need the power of prayer.

  2. Sandie says:

    John – I don’t know why you seem to think you’re stuck. I know, for me, when I’m in that position to seek forgiveness from someone, I do one of two things. Either I rush right into it so I don’t lose the opportunity. Or…I run into a wall. Sometimes I erected the wall, reluctant because of pride mostly. Then there are the times The Spirit throws up the roadblock. That’s when I’ve learned to pray and think. I know I want to get the business over and behind me, so I can move on. Notice who’s the subject of that last sentence? Me, of course. Meanwhile God wants me to focus on the other person(s) and their needs.Timing and attitude can make or break the whole thing. Maybe that’s where you are? Prayers for you John – you are a good man.

  3. Jesus Aguilar says:

    Hi John, my name is Jesus A and I am alcoholic from the gate. Aha! Of course I have noticed the time lapse, but I have come to accept it as I have come to accept all things around me as God’s plan.
    I am truly enjoying the way you are conducting this process.
    It really makes no difference if you take your time and give us time to reflect. What makes a difference is that we are with you and you are with us and in between is God. That makes a difference totally.
    Please do not take offense at what I am going to write, but I have asked for an intuitive thought and also I have run it by my Sponsor (36 years) and he said: “DO WHAT IS RIGHT” — From the very beginning I was told that we do not”WORK” the steps. We “TAKE” the steps. The big book says –“THESE ARE THE STEPS WE TOOK” it does not say these are the steps we work. When we say we work the steps, we expect a reward or a payment for our work, there is no payment to be have, perhaps a reward yes; we stay sober, and here we need to be careful, because my sobriety depends in God’s grace only. You see, I am very adamant about the words we use.
    Also I have learned from the Word of God, to keep it like it is written.
    Now I hope no one gets offended.
    Step nine according to my experience, is delicate and must be taken under the direction of an experienced person. When taking looking only at our side and with the intent to make an effort to reconcile or to make restitution, the results are peace, joy, and bliss. We call this “Spiritual Awakening” The promises start to come true and we are living in a new basis, the basis of love and tolerance.
    I must point out that many including me when we come to this step, we say: I never make amends to him or her, or we say: I do not want to make amends now, maybe later, and also sometimes we say: I can only make amends if they make amends to me first. I am glad to share with you that today I have made amends to all and I am living a life under the guide of the Word of God and the principles of A A. It is not easy, but it is possible.Give it a try.
    Jesus Aguilar.

  4. Mark D Seguin says:

    Love this truth: “The story is always fresh. We aren’t “better than” anyone, but we are hopefully “getting better” than we were.” Amen ❤

  5. TOM says:

    We don’t do these alone !!! I took my 8th step list to my sponsor. Some of the things on my list were un necessary . I felt bad but there was actually no harm. With the remainder we drew up a plan of action. and followed it . Now I don,t need to be afraid of running into those people. Another kicker is that MY NAME is on my list. Cuz sometimes I don’t treat me so well.

  6. Pingback: Conscious Contact | John Fischer The Catch

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