When we complete our 4th-5th step, it is the gateway to our AMENDS/Forgiveness step. I feel like this is somehow harder that the 4th step, as it requires me to lay down any claim I have to obtain some kind of apology, repayment or karmic balancing of the scales and release you from the debt you owe me for doing whatever wrong I feel has transpired in our relationship.
Example: An objective wrong (a friend stole an item and still has it, it’s obvious and doesn’t seem sorry in the least) or it can be subjective (friend flirted with a person you really liked, even though you never said anything to them or to your friend and they dated for a year while you had to listen to the blow-by-blow of how great it all was). Then you went so far as to tell another friend how upset you were about your friend’s behavior and that you thought they were acting like a bad friend to treat you this way, then swore them to secrecy.
Either way, I am hurt, carrying around the hurt and suffering for it, and the other person has no worries. God wants me to have freedom. So, I place this whole drama on my 4th step, read it to my sponsor, and now I have to pursue forgiveness in my heart for the whole affair. But wait, why? My so-called “friend” is the one making my life miserable, shouldn’t I walk up to them and tell them that I “forgive” them for making my life miserable? Nope.
Here it is. It is my responsibility to write out my amends to you and then deliver it if it is safe to do so. If we are still in relationship together in any capacity, absolutely, this must happen. I must extend forgiveness regarding the missing item, with no strings attached, and confess that I gossiped about you because I felt pain that I could not express to you about the relationship you were in (see: poor boundaries). And, of course I must go to the friend I gossiped to and make an amends for swearing them to secrecy regarding bad-mouthing my first friend. As you can see, this all gets pretty complicated if we don’t keep our side of the street clean.
This, friends, is how the chains fall away. We can’t live under constant threat of condemnation from God, others or ourselves and believe that we are walking in freedom.
I have an amends that I needs to make at this time, but have not been able to make it because the person involved will not accept my amends. Which makes me sad, but there is nothing to be done. But I do stand willing and ready, which honors God and my recovery.
This is not about extracting truth from the other person, or getting closure with them about relational issues or restoration, although that can occur (yea!!). This is about working the steps, regardless of other’s opinions. God calls us to live in peace with others. This step is vital to living it out.
Much love to you all today ❤