The Fruit of Forgiveness
We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
Some of the things we've done have earned us disapproval and possibly a loss of love. We have found that some people in our lives only love us if they can approve of our behavior. We may have struggled with bitterness toward them because we feel like they have been trying to punish us. If our "sins" have been made public, we may assume that we've lost the love of everyone who disapproves of our actions. This fear of rejection might deter us from reaching out to make amends.
In the young Corinthian church, a man was cut off from church fellowship when his sins were made public. After he turned around and tried to make amends, some people refused to welcome him back into the church. The apostle Paul told them, "[Remember] the man who caused all the trouble. . . . Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough. Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him" (2 Corinthians 2:5-8). Some people will follow this advice and reaffirm their love for you when you go to them.
There will be some people who will respond with forgiveness, comfort, acceptance, and love. This will help us overcome the grief, the bitterness, and the discouragement we may feel. Their forgiveness will help us to move on with our recovery.
When we seek to make amends, we risk rejection; when we fail to do so, we risk losing the joy of forgiveness.
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.