New Light on the Twelve Steps
Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all…
If we’ve come this far, then we have to assume through willingness, honesty and open-mindedness, we have seen some very revealing and ugly defects (step 4). These defects are the outpouring of our unbelief-actually manifested by another (Satan). We also have made God aware that we now see these defects of character and another human being has been included in knowing our whole life’s story (step 5). Again, please understand when we say "defects of character" we mean Satan’s character, manifested by us, brought about by our conscious choice not to believe who we are, Jesus Christ living as us. So simply, a fourth and fifth step is the action taken which reveals where Satan has grabbed our members all of our lives. Usually the person hearing our 5th step can help pull some deeper hidden defects out for us to look at as well. Then the 6th and 7th steps deal with our willingness to have God remove these defects-or our unbelief-in all the areas revealed by our 5th step. We need to understand that these defects are not to be taken lightly. They cause death. Experience shows that any unbelief will allow Satan an eye hook to thread his selffor-self life through to jerk any of us off track. He is "cunning, baffling and powerful" and once we are "caught out," the road gets seriously rough. These are cliffs which we can’t see. ..Experience shows this to be true.
Whenever you see that you are in unbelief, the 6th step is where you go. We need to check out our willingness, honesty and open-mindedness towards the details of that step. If you don’t know the step, go to the book Alcoholics Anonymous and read about it. God is sure to respond to any heart-felt questions. Experience shows that we love our defects because most of them make us feel good and fill voids that our lack of faith tells us need to be filled. Not true! In Him there are no voids. In Him we are complete, whole and lacking nothing. at a beautiful thing to sell out to that truth.
So now we need to make a list of all those we had harmed. We must be hard on ourselves and easy on others, those we had harmed. The "we" in this case is Satan by us. Remember Satan does the deeds; we only do the believing. It’s so easy to slip into the lie that it was "just me" that damaged and hurt all these people. No, it was Satan. We are only looking back at who he "stepped on" by us. Hopefully that makes the process of listing names easier for us. We make out a list using part of our 4th step but also taking a good look at those we maybe harmed but never had anger or resentment towards. Our 4th step list was about anger directed towards people, institutions and principles. We found there were a lot of people and institutions we harmed as a result of our anger, self-centered fear, self-pity, etc. Experience shows while in a state of mind caused by total independent believing, we ran rough shod over lots and lots of victims we were never really angry towards; they just happened to be in our way. We literally slammed them and left them to die. It was helpful to go back to step 4, "my part," to review our attitude throughout our life. We looked closely at who was around us during these times. Inevitably, we found some people’s toes that had been stepped on that didn’t make our 4th step list. So now we have another list.
Step 8 then states we were willing to make amends to them all. Again we are faced with a faith choice, "Who are we?" We are Christ in us, so willingness is the truth about ourselves at that moment. That sounds too simple, but really it is that simple. We might throw out some mental dialogue such as "I’m not making any amends to him/her; they’re crazy!" or "Suppose they don’t like me anyway?" or "Not after what they said or did to me." See, none of this stuff is the point. The 8th step says "willing." Willing is a state of being. Willing is a position or stance. Willing is saying if Christ be in us, then we stand as Him willing for fulfillment of God’s ultimate purpose. Who knows, He by us could stand in willingness forever. So what! None of our business. Just be willing…
Experience shows that sometimes being willing is all that was required. The actual making of the amends never happened but we stood willing to follow through when asked.
We must realize to be ready simply means willing, honest and open-minded (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 70). It was stated early on that these were the essentials of recovery and without them we were doomed to a life of selfishness and self-centeredness, a life lived out by self-for-self (Satan) rather that a sold-out life of self-for-others (Christ). If we’re not willing, we can pray for the willingness to be made willing. That was Rees Howells’ turning point at five minutes to six when God presented him with the choice to allow the Holy Spirit to take him over 100%. He asked God to give him the willingness to be made willing. The rest was history. Sold out…
Step 8-make a list and be willing!
Anonymity is a fundamental tradition in AA. However, the writer welcomes any questions or comments, which may be sent to the magazine office.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 11 No 4
- The Deep Things of God
- Editor’s Note
- Moments with Meryl
- A Strange Army!
- Irish Summer Conference
- The Letter to the Romans
- Isaiah 45:20-25
- Men’s Conference
- Excerpt from The Intercession of Rees Howells
- A Look at a Book
- It’s a Wonderful Thing…
- Questions & Answers
- Marching On
- Hopekinsville Fellowship
- God’s Promises
- To Think About
- The Mailbox
- New Light on the Twelve Steps
- No Excuses for Failure
- Tape Talk
- Words to Live By