We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
There are many kinds of thieves. Some of us stole to support our habits, when our addictions demanded it. Others of us have never stolen anyone's property, but are thieves in another sense. We may have robbed ourselves of opportunities or dignity. Perhaps, we've stolen the heart of someone's spouse or robbed our children of their childhood. All these robberies have victims.
The apostle Paul said, "If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need" (Ephesians 4:28). When Zacchaeus turned his life over to Christ he had to look at how many people he had cheated and stolen from in his unethical business deals. "Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!' " (Luke 19:8).
Any time we take something that's not rightfully ours, or use something that doesn't belong to us without the permission of the rightful owner, that is stealing. People need to maintain clear boundaries of what belongs to them, whether in their material goods or in their committed relationships. If we have violated the boundaries and taken something belonging to others, we have spoiled their sense of security and brought them harm. We need to broaden our definition of stealing and ask God to show us everyone we've harmed in this way.
Changes we see on the outside usually reflect changes that have already happened on the inside.
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.