Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member
Well, let me just say this blog may be a little more personal than a lot of them. I do write personal blogs at times but this could well be “over the top.” But it’s something that is on my heart.
I’d like to talk about making amends with people we may have sinned against. In re:gen, for several weeks now, we have been going over forgiveness and making amends. When we wrapped up Step 8-forgiveness, I told our leader that I really enjoyed that aspect of things, because I have actually been working on that since I began re:gen back in February. One of the main reasons I put myself in re:gen, or maybe I should put it, that God led me to Regen was that I had a great ability to hold onto offenses done to me. Some of these went back to my early childhood and I was still holding on to them. Then we started Step 9-Amends. I told our leader that I was not sure how much I would get out of this section, because I had been working on making amends with people already and wasn’t sure there were any more people I really had to amend relationships with. But I also said that perhaps God would bring some to mind.
As I started going through the first week of Amends (two more weeks left—Agh!!!) I realized it was more than just confessing sins to someone. That’s important but attempting to amend a relationship adds another dimension. Basically when we make amends with someone, we take responsibility for our sin. True, the other person may have sinned also, but when making amends, we are only concerned with our part of things. Whether the other party forgives me, or wants to make amends with me, doesn’t matter. The important thing here is that we make the attempt to repair a relationship in obedience to our Lord. The outcome may or may not be what we think, but that doesn’t matter. Obeying the Lord is what counts.
So, last night and today I sat down and reviewed my “inventory” (oh, that inventory!) to see if there was anyone that I needed to make amends with. There was one person I already had on my mind, but I put this person in the category of “maybe later.” I thought of my parents and my wife that I would like to make amends with, but they have all died. Our leader mentioned that in that case, sometime it is good to write a letter to them. I have, and do write letters to God quite often but never really thought about doing this.
So, my assignment today was to find three people or entities on my inventory that I needed to make amends with. Two of them were supposed to be amends that I could make fairly soon and one was supposed to be a more difficult or perhaps unclear if I needed to make amends at all. For the two easy ones I picked my wife and a fellow employee here at the office. Then I should pick one to work on today.
So, chose my wife and started my letter to her. Some of you may find this a little strange, but for me it was a good experience. I started the letter by recalling some of the sins I had committed against God and her like not loving my wife according to Ephesians 6 and putting myself first most of the time. As I was writing I had a set of earphones on listening to YouTube (real spiritual, right). A song came on called Someone Like You by a singer named Van Morrison. I have always loved song and I even dedicated it to my wife as my song to her. She despised Van’s music by the way, until I told her that I dedicated this song to her. After that, she liked this song at least. We used to laugh about that. As I continued the letter I could feel a lump in my throat as I recalled some of the sinful and unkind things I did to my wife. I also recalled our last couple of months together where she told me that I was the best husband she could have ever had. I truly had a hard time accepting that. But that day was also kind of a watershed day in our marriage. I must admit, it was a good and freeing experience to do this letter.
Now for the really strange part, that I believe was the Lord. As I was wrapping up my letter to my wife, the second person I wanted to talk with stopped my desk to drop off some work for me. That was a bit strange for a couple of reasons. First, was that I had not really planned on talking with this person today. Secondly, earlier in the day I told God that when the person comes by my desk the next time, I would ask if I could talk to them. Not expecting that to be today, the person showed up. I asked if I could talk with them some time and the other person said “sure, let’s do it now.” Not really knowing what to do, I resigned myself to the fact that maybe this was God’s time for this talk. So we went into one to the conference rooms. I had just read in my re:gen book today we should not let fear stop us from doing God’s will. And that a healthy fear actually draws us closer to God to depend on Him. So, I put aside my fears and we had our talk even though I did not know how this person was going to react. I told them of my sin toward them and asked for forgiveness and that I wanted to make amends as much as possible. We knew that the relationship, if restored, would not be like it was previously. The person took things really well. By God’s some restoration took place I believe we can now work comfortably together whereas before it was somewhat awkward. I couldn’t help but to believe that the Lord worked this out according to His time and design.
I believe I will have more of these amending conversations to do and I am not sure they will go as well as this one did. But I do know that we are called to live as one body with our brothers and sisters in Christ. I can see in my heart the importance of being at peace as much as possible with our brothers and sisters. If we can’t love one another in the Lord, how can we possibly expect the world to know and realize that our Lord is real? “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (Jn13:35). This reminds me of the old Christian song from the 70’s; They Will Know We are Christians by our Love. Forgiveness and amends is not an easy path. But it is one that we need to pursue with our hearts. May God give us the grace to do this.