Thursday, May 11, 2023

Lesson 16 - Amends


Principle 6: Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others.

Happy are the merciful.” (Matthew 5:7)

Happy are the peacemakers.” (Matthew 5:9)

Step 8: We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)


Making amends is about unloading baggage that is weighing you down. The “baggage” takes the form of unforgiven hurts and harms.

We make amends not primarily for the benefit of others, but for ourselves and our recovery, although others are blessed through us as we are blessed. Others may not accept our amends, but that is not a take away from our own recovery.

Some may say, “Never will I forgive! Not after what was done to me!” The next lesson will help with this as we learn about forgiveness. If this is you, listen to the way Celebrate Recovery rewords this step for those in the sexual/physical abuse groups:

Make a list of all persons who have harmed us and become willing to seek God’s help in forgiving our perpetrators, as well as forgiving ourselves. Realize we’ve also harmed others and become willing to make amends to them.”

To do this, this step, step 8, involves making a list - “make a list of persons that we have harmed and become willing to make amends to them all.” Step 8 is only the list, more guidance comes in the future steps when we actually make the amends. This step is about our willingness, not the action itself.

Making Amends actually has two parts.

  1. The first part of Principle 6 deals with harm done to others, being willing to consider being forgiven.

  2. The second part of Principle 6 deals with harm done to us, being willing to offer our forgiveness.

At this point in the steps, all we are doing is listing the people involved in each of these two things.


Let’s look at tonight’s acrostic and answer the question, How do I make AMENDS?

Admit the hurt and the harm

Make a list

Encourage one another

Not for them

Do it at the right time

Start living the promises of recovery

The A is ADMIT the hurt and the harm.

The first thing we need to do when making a list is to think about the hurts and harms we have experienced. After we think about them, we can then admit the hurts and harms, and get ready to add them to the list.

One of the things that can prevent us from doing that is pointing out away from ourselves and pushing the responsibility for reconciliation to others. We can not expect others to come to us, instead of us taking the initiative and making the first move.

Jesus addresses this in his discourse about loving our enemies.

Luk 6:27-28 "But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, (28) bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

Luk 6:41-42 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

Jesus is giving us insight into living as an overcomer, how to overcome our adversary. Taking care to reflect upon our selves, and coming to a humble place will enable us to take the initiative and make the first move. Doing this moves us spiritually from a place of defeat to a place of victory.

It also makes us right with God.

Luke 6:37 (GNB) tells us, “Do not judge others, and God will not judge you; do not condemn others, and God will not condemn you; forgive others, and God will forgive you.”

The next letter in amends is M: MAKE a list.

Once we have thought about our past hurts and harms, and come to a place where we can face them and admit them, the next step is to list them.

When you are making your list, don’t worry about the “how-tos” in making your amends. Don’t ask questions like How could I ever ask my dad for forgiveness? How could I ever forgive my brother for what he did? Go ahead and put the person on your list anyway. The important thing here is to get to the point where you are able to list them. Guidance on action will be covered in a future lesson.

As you are going through the assembly of this list, it is helpful to remember to:

Treat others as you want them to treat you” (Luke 6:31, TLB).

The E in amends stands for ENCOURAGE one another.

As we are going through this process, we may find it to be quite difficult and tedious to go through the thinking, admitting and listing of our hurts and harms. We need our brothers and sisters to encourage us to get through it. We should not try to do this alone.

As you make are going through this process of listing your hurts and harms, meet with your accountability partner or sponsor, someone to encourage you and to provide a good “sounding board.” That person’s objective opinion is valuable to ensure that you make amends and offer forgiveness with the right motives.

Hebrews 10:24 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

If you are asked to be an encourager, an accountability partner, or a sponsor, be honored. And remember, you can’t hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening your own.

The N in amends is the reason for making the amends: NOT for them.

As we go through this step, and think about our hurts and harms, and write them down in a list, it is helpful to remember why we are doing this.

We are working on our recovery, not someone elses recovery. Remember that the reason for making Amends is for us, not for them. We will experience a transformation as we conform to God's Word.

Jesus said, “Love your enemies and do good to them; lend and expect nothing back” (Luke 6:35, GNB).

There are two points in this passage:

  1. As we write out list, and contemplate making Amends, we should determine to do so in a loving and caring way.

  2. After we have made an Amend with someone, we should expect nothing back.

Remember, an unforgiving heart will cause you more pain and destruction than it will ever cause the person who hurt you.

Let’s move on to the D in amends: DO it at the right time.

This principle not only requires courage, good judgment, and willingness, but a careful sense of timing!

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (TLB) tells us, “There is a right time for everything.”

As we contemplate making our amends, we should be aware that there is a time to let things happen and a time to make things happen. There is a right time and a wrong time to offer forgiveness or to make amends.

Before making amends, you need to pray, asking Jesus Christ for His guidance, His direction, and His perfect timing. The idea is to “make” things happen, but at the right time. If we “let” things happen, we may be waiting for a very long time.

Principle 6 goes on to say, “ … except when to do so would harm them or others.”

Listen to Philippians 2:4: “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

So while making our Amends is “not for them”, we do want to consider others in our actions and look to their interests as well.

The last letter in amends is S: START living the promises of recovery.

As we complete this principle, we will discover God’s gift of true freedom from our past. We will begin to find the peace and serenity that we have long been seeking. We will become ready to embrace God’s purpose for our lives.

God promises, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten” (Joel 2:25).


This principle, when followed, gives practical guidance in how to put off an old way of life, and put on a new way of life. We are learning to “be made new in the attitude of our minds” as we forgive others for harm they have done to us, and accept forgiveness given to us. Our minds are being changed, and our actions change as a result. This is the power of God's Word.

Eph 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; (23) to be made new in the attitude of your minds; (24) and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Let’s pray.

Dear God, I pray for willingness—willingness to evaluate all my past and current relationships. Please show me the people who I have hurt, and help me become willing to offer my amends to them. Also, God, give me Your strength to become willing to offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me. I pray for Your perfect timing for taking the action that Principle 6 calls for. I ask all these things in Your Son’s name, Amen.

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