A lot of times we want to hold on to the hurt that’s been done to us. I get that. We want to cling to the unforgiveness and bitterness. I get that too. We are fighting mad, and we want to make the other person pay. I totally get that. But somewhere along the way, it breaks us down. We lose it. We break down. We can’t cope. We can’t hope. We can’t move forward. We lash out. We wash out. We wipe out. Our immediate impulse is to self-protect at any cost. The result – mental and emotional death.
It’s not always an easy road in recovery. It requires an act of one’s will. You must CHOOSE to change. Steps mean nothing, if you don’t put them into action and believe that God will do in you what you cannot do for yourself. This can become more and more of a reality for us as we moved through the first three steps; to put it simply—I can’t. God can. God please do. We can give it all to God while dealing with the past, making confession, learning our character defects, and choosing to want to change. We can have a new freedom. We don’t have to rely on ourselves to fix the problem. We don’t have to be afraid of the process because God is in charge. We begin to realize there was no way we could control the outcome of our recovery—we learn that we have to trust, believe, adhere to, and rely on God to do the deeper work of changing our hearts.
When we recognize within ourselves that unforgiveness impulse, we have a choice to make. Be free, or get chain and shackled to roots of fear, loss, bitterness, and shame. In Hunger for Healing, Keith Miller wrote “in Step 8 we’re setting out to clean up all the bruised relationships and the pockets of guilt, pain fear, resentment, and sadness that are stored inside, stuck to our shameful past deeds” (185). And in step 9 we seek to made amends with those we have hurt in our past. It is a scary step, but it’s also a life-altering, freeing step.
To put it more precisely…Clean up the mess you left behind when you wrecked relationships and broke charity. Own the hurt you caused. Seek forgiveness and you forgive too. Make amends. You’ll find a new freedom, and those old, heavy, blackened chains and shackles will be broken!
Miller, J. Keith. Hunger for Healing: The Twelve Steps as a Classic Model for Christian Spiritual Growth. New York: Harper Collins, 1991. Print.