We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
It's natural to hope that the people we've hurt will think better of us once we've sought to make amends. We may fear that there are some who will never upgrade their opinions about us, no matter what we do. In reality they may not, especially if they have chosen to use us as a scapegoat.
Before the coming of Jesus, the Jews were instructed to select a live goat which would carry away their sins. (When Jesus came, he became our scapegoat and took our sins upon himself.) The priest was to place his hands on this goat and confess over it all the sins of the people. "He [the priest] will transfer the people's sins to the head of the goat. Then a man specially chosen for the task will drive the goat into the wilderness. As the goat goes into the wilderness, it will carry all the people's sins upon itself into a desolate land" (Leviticus 16:21-22).
Some of the people we've hurt will use us as their scapegoat. Since we have hurt them, they feel justified in sending us away with more than our share of the burden. They unconsciously place the blame for their pain on us, so we can carry it away. As their scapegoat, we play the role of removing something they were unable to deal with in any other way. Because of this, they may never welcome us back. We should prepare for this kind of response and realize that it says more about them than it says about us.
At times we will be forced to carry the pain of another; be thankful that God has agreed to do the same for us.
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.