We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
As we allowed our lives to get out of control, we probably hurt people without even realizing it. Many of the people on our list were hurt by our mistakes, not by something we did intentionally. We may not remember hurting some of them, and only realize it when someone points it out. Nevertheless, we still need to take responsibility for our actions by making amends.
When God gave the commandments, he included instructions for handling mistakes as well as intentional sins. He said, "This is how you are to deal with those who sin unintentionally by doing anything that violates one of the Lord's commands. . . . If any of the common people sin . . . but they don't realize it, they are still guilty. When they become aware of their sin, they must bring as an offering for their sin a female goat with no defects" (Leviticus 4:2, 27-28). "But suppose you unintentionally fail to carry out all these commands that the Lord has given you. . . . If the mistake was made unintentionally, and the community was unaware of it, the whole community must present a young bull for a burnt offering. . . . They will be forgiven. For it was an unintentional sin, and they have corrected it with their offerings to the Lord" (Numbers 15:22-25).
We are responsible for the way our behavior has affected others. This is true even when we didn't realize we were hurting them. These unintentional sins need to be acknowledged and corrected as soon as we discover them. God forgives all our sins. In the recovery process, however, the unintentional sins need to be accounted for along with the more glaring ones.
Forgiveness from unintentional sins can be a source of unintentional joy.
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.