Step 9

Learning How to Forgive and ForgetPremium Content

Proverbs 17:9 NRSV
One who forgives an affront fosters friendship, but one who dwells on disputes will alienate a friend.

Do we forgive?

Likely, the answer will be "yes," but for many of us, the truth is actually closer to "no." Rather, we hold grudges, withhold our trust, and generally are fairly unforgiving. In fact, for some of us, we cling to our offenses like comfort blankets, consoling ourselves with the idea that somehow withholding our friendship from someone who has hurt us actually deals that person a fatal blow. In reality, unforgiveness hurts us a lot more than it hurts the person at whom we are angry.

The problem, I think, is that we have forgotten how to repent. We teach our children the easy "sorry;" we use it ourselves. It no longer has any meaning. And forgiveness and repentance go hand in hand. In fact, we are so absorbed with the idea of tolerance (rather than repentance) that we are even reluctant to admit to another person that they have hurt us, have offended us. So rather than dealing with that issue and forgiving them, we hang onto our hurt. It's a vicious circle.

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AA History: Looking at Its Oxford Group Link in ContextPremium Content

No facet of Alcoholics Anonymous history has been more misrepresented than A.A.'s connection with the Oxford Group. There are some relevant fundamentals concerning the relationship. But there are far more erroneous pieces of information still being promulgated by many today. Consider the following:

Yes, after he got sober, Bill Wilson became involved with the Oxford Group on the East Coast. But the real activities that brought about Bill's sobriety had little to do with the Oxford Group at and before the time he got sober. Bill actually learned the solution to alcoholism--conversion to God through Jesus Christ--from his friend Ebby Thacher and from his physician Dr. William D. Silkworth.

To be sure, Bill also learned about the Oxford Group from Rowland Hazard and Ebby Thacher. But he did not rely on Oxford Group principles and practices (their life-changing program) when he: (1) made his decision to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior at Calvary Mission in New York; (2) became born again and so stated in his autobiography; (3) decided he needed to turn to the Great Physician, Jesus Christ, for help and so stated in his autobiography; and (4) went to Towns Hospital, cried out to God for help, and had his indescribably white light experience-which included sensing the presence of God and having the thought: "Bill, you are a free man. This is the God of the Scriptures." .See Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W. (www.DickB.com/conversion.shtml). See also Dale Mitchel, Silkworth: The Little Doctor Who Loved Drunks. And seeBill's own words in The Language of the Heart, page 284.

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Restoration Through Making Amends (Part 2)Premium Content

See: Part 1

In his book, Staying Sober, Terence Gorksi shares a simple exercise that creates a workable “road map” for the process of making amends. On a sheet of paper, draw lines to make three columns. In the left column, list those who were hurt by my drinking/drug addiction. In the center one, list how they were hurt in very specific terms. And, in the right, list what must be done to make amends with them. A final step in the process is to determine who can and cannot be contacted and to develop a chronological list of those who will be contacted.

The second half of Step 9 offers a warning – there are certain people to whom we should not attempt to make amends. This is because doing so could actually be more harmful than doing nothing. In Step 8 the focus in on a list of all those to whom one is willing to make amends. Step 9 involves talking real action to restore relationships. This requires much more discretion. Here are things to consider from the Serenity New Testament:

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Restoration Though Making Amends (Part 1)Premium Content

If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. (Matthew 5:23, 24)

A rescue mission counselor asked me to talk with a man who had returned to their recovery program for the third time. Despite completing their program twice, he was unable to remain sober for more than a few months. Not too far into our discussion, I recognized he had not been able to develop the healthy sort of relationships essential for continued growth in recovery. Fearful of becoming too involved with others, he could not experience the joy of meaningful, fulfilling relationships. I asked him, "Have you ever done the 8 & 9 Steps?” His answer of "No” made perfect sense. Like many newly recovering people, he still carried a load of guilt and remorse from unresolved past relationships. Thus, he could not move forward with confidence to make new intimate relationships. He needed to clean up the residue of his past first.

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Biblical References for the 12 Steps (Long Version)Premium Content

Note: all quotes are from the King James Version (KJV). If you have difficulty understanding the KJV we strongly recommend that you get a copy of a more modern language Bible such as The New Life Version Bible, New King James Version, New Revised Standard Version, Today's English Version, The Message, etc.

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and dysfunctions and that our lives had become unmanageable.

--For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing:
for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is
good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil
which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not,
it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. Romans 7:18-20

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I have asked God for forgiveness, do I have to ask my spouse too?Premium Content

Question:If you have asked God for forgiveness do you still need to ask your spouse for forgiveness?

Marriage Guidance: Let's take a closer look at some of the issues that are involved with repentance and seeking forgiveness so we can better understand what to do in this situation.

Seeking Christ's Forgiveness

When we go to Christ with our sin(s) or perhaps our "sinful lifestyle" it means we have a heart-felt sorrow for what we did or for how we had been living and are "now" ready to TURN away from our sins (that lifestyle) and become a new person (transformed) in God through Jesus Christ.

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ForgivenessPremium Content

There is much to be said about forgiveness and the impact it has one each life. The Bible holds hundreds of examples of people who have experienced first-hand, being forgiven of wrongful deeds: King David, Peter the disciple when he denied knowing Jesus three times, the woman caught in adultery, Paul who murdered hundreds of Christians before his conversion, Cain who killed his brother Abel because Abel's sacrifice was accepted and Cain's was not are just some to name a few who experienced the forgiveness of God in their life first-hand.

The sole purpose behind the come of Jesus Christ as a human was that He died as an atonement for our sins. He hung on the cross in our place. By all rights, WE should be the ones hanging on the cross. After all, Jesus was WITHOUT ANY SIN, but we were born into sin, yet it was Jesus who died and it is us who live.

If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. 1 John 1:8.

For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard. Romans 3:23.

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Forgiveness Workshop TranscriptPremium Content

Obie-HostIt is my great pleasure to introduce to you today Yvonne Ortega.She serves on the Board of Directors of Christians in Recovery and leads her own ministry which she will tell you about. Today she will be speaking on Forgiveness.

Every time Yvonne leads a workshop we are all greatly blessed by her insights. Let us open in prayer.....

Heavenly Father,
We pray for our workshop leader Yvonne today.Anoint her with the Holy Spirit. Give her Your words of wisdom to share with us --
words of healing. Open our ears, hearts and minds that we are teachable and also open to the Holy Spirit. In the name of Jesus we all pray. Amen.

Yvonne will speak for several minutes and then we will have a question and answer period where you will be able to ask questions. Yvonne, you now have the floor!

Yvonne Thank you.
What does it mean “to forgive”?
It means to give up feeling angry or wanting to punish, to show mercy, to pardon.

Countless adults have told me they can’t forgive themselves. One woman had an abortion and said, “I’m a murderer. I can’t go back to church.”

An alcoholic lost his wife, his children, his job, his car, and his home. His children refused to have anything to do with him. He said, “It’s all my fault for drinking like I did.”

A married woman got drunk and had sex with a male acquaintance. She was beside herself with shame and guilt.

A man fell asleep at the wheel and hit a guardrail. His daughter was thrown from the van and died. He was overwhelmed with grief and beat himself up repeatedly for the loss of his daughter.

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You May Not Hate But.... Do You Love?

John 8:12 NRSV
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life."

I am by nature probably more like a chicken than any other animal on the planet. I like to wake up with the sun and go to sleep with the sun. In the winter, I like to sleep for long periods of time in the darkness and in the summer, I am up with the light and energetic until the darkness comes. For me, all this is is a quirk of physiology or training or something. It makes it difficult for me to entertain others long into the night because I begin to drop off after nine, but other than that, it is simply a personal eccentricity. We all have them.

Can You Love in the Midst of Hate?

1 John 2:9-11 NRSV
Whoever says, "I am in the light," while hating a brother or sister, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light, and in such a person there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates another believer is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and does not know the way to go, because the darkness has brought on blindness.

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