Endigar 507 ~ “. . . Of All Persons We had Harmed”

From Today’s Daily Reflections;

. . . and became willing to make amends to them all.   (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 77)

One of the key words in the Eighth Step is the word all. I am not free to select a few names for the list and to disregard others. It is a list of all persons I have harmed. I can see immediately that this Step entails forgiveness because if I’m not willing to forgive someone, there is little chance I will place his name on the list. Before I placed the first name on my list, I said a little prayer: “I forgive anyone and everyone who has ever harmed me at any time and under any circumstances.”

It is well for me to contemplate a small, but very significant, two-letter word every time the Lord’s Prayer is said. The word is as. I ask, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In this case, as means, “in the same manner.” I am asking to be forgiven in the same manner that I forgive others. As I say this portion of the prayer, if I am harboring hatred or resentment, I am inviting more resentment, when I should be calling on the spirit of forgiveness.

END OF QUOTE

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I think you can accomplish this step without ever entangling it with questions of forgiveness.  In fact, forgiveness requires that I account for that which was done to me and that is not the focus of this program.  I am to look at what I have done and how I can make that right.  Why?  So I can stay sober and live freely.  I have no control over their welfare and I accept the things I cannot change.  I am concerned with cleaning up my side of the street even though their side of the street may be littered with feces and rotting corpses.  This is a very pragmatic morality I embrace in Alcoholics Anonymous.  The reason I put ALL persons I have harmed on my list is not because I have forgiven everyone, but because I must deliver the kill shot to all the wondering zombies of my personal guilt that might come at me with a first drink I cannot refuse.

Then the Spirit of Forgiveness will do Her own work, healing my mind and heart.  She will defend my new life and vindicate my courage.  I will be able to approach all men on equal footing with no further need to let my isolated selfishness create more collateral damage.  I do not believe that it is possible for me to forgive in isolation, for that leads to morbid self-reflection and self-loathing.  I can be open to the Spirit of Forgiveness which is a connection to the feminine aspect of Gomu (God of my understanding) and allow the work of Her transformation to take hold.  I just have to be willing to kill the zombies first.

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