How important is it to make amends in a way that respects the other person’s feelings and sets boundaries for you?
Bill Arnold presents the idea from the 12 Steps:
“I just want to say how important it is in the 12 Steps to do number 9 – making amends to people and asking for forgiveness. Telling them you’re sorry and doing it in a way that has the right timing and tone and that sets you up to have the best opportunity to have the amend be fruitful, and spend lots of time praying about it.”
Dr. Todd Mulliken help us sort through the issue of making amends in a healthy way.
“Don’t be controlled by the fact that it may not go well. Be controlled by the fact that you did what you could, in Christ, to be reasonable and to bring truth and grace to the situation.”
Perhaps you’re thinking, ‘I’d like to apologize, but they’re not going to receive it, or they’re just going to give me a hard time.’
“Do you have the need to understand or do you have a need to win? That’s why it’s so great to go to our number one counselor, the Holy Spirit. So much of it is the attitude you and I bring into those amends – whether we’re being apologized to or we’re doing the apologizing – what’s my attitude going into it. That determines a lot about how it will go.”
So, what if the conversation goes in the wrong direction?
“Have an honest conversation, and then if it doesn’t go well we go to ‘loving detachment.’ Sometimes we have to go to separation and bring mediator in. A lot of times an honest conversation doesn’t go well and people feel lost for twenty five years.”