We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
How many times have we written people off because of some dispute in the distant past? Years pass and people change; yet we cling to our old ways of seeing them. Perhaps we never saw them very clearly in the first place! For some of us, making amends will include reviewing our relationships. We may need to change our estimation of some of those we've already judged.
Paul and Barnabas traveled together on a missionary journey, taking John Mark along as their assistant. When things got tough, the young man deserted them and went home. Later, Barnabas wanted to give John Mark another chance, but Paul refused. "Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated" (Acts 15:39). Much later in his life, Paul was put in prison. During that time, he wrote to Timothy and asked for John Mark. He said, "He is useful to me for ministry" (2 Timothy 4:11, nkjv).
The Bible doesn't tell us how Paul came to change his opinion of John Mark. Perhaps he realized that he hadn't been completely fair. Maybe John Mark had changed over the years. At some point, though, they had reestablished their relationship and repaired the emotional damage done.
Making amends includes going back and settling emotional accounts. When we've judged someone harshly, we need to reexamine our relationship with that person. If we expect others to change how they look at us, we will need to do the same for others.
By making amends, we become open to God's life-changing power.
Taken from The Life Recovery Devotional: Thirty Meditations from Scripture for Each Step in Recovery by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Copyright © 1991 by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.