We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
When we give in to our addictions, we feel isolated. We feel alone in our pain and need something to overcome it. We never expected our behaviors to affect the lives of others. We weren't thinking about the people around us; we were focused on our own pain. We just wanted to feel better. Our addictions seemed to promise us a way to destroy the pain without hurting anyone else.
The Old Testament says, "If you are burning thornbushes and the fire gets out of control and spreads into another person's field, destroying the sheaves or the uncut grain or the whole crop, the one who started the fire must pay for the lost crop" (Exodus 22:6).
This law was especially important in the farming community of early Israel. It stated a person's responsibility for damages caused when his attempt to burn up thornbushes in his own field got out of control and burned the valuable grain in adjoining fields. Here's an analogy: The thorns represent the pain we're trying to consume with the fire of our addictions. At first we don't realize how our lives are connected to others, or the damage that can result when our addictions get out of control. In retrospect, however, we can see how the fire of our addictions has destroyed much more than the thornbushes of our pain. Making amends means we need to account for all the losses that have resulted from the fire we started.
Making amends helps us take responsibility for the pain we've caused.
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.