Monday, July 17, 2006

Direct Amends Wherever Possible

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5, 24-25

Let me tell you what I have been stressing about. Then let me tell you how God physically reminded me that there is no escape from the right path.
I have posted before about my struggles with making amends in Stuck in Slow Motion.
Today God made a serious breakthrough in my recovery. I had no choice. I was completely out of the loop. I have seen God work changes in others almost immediately but I have never personally experienced a burning bush until today.

I will break this down exactly as it happened.

The last two weeks have been difficult at Celebrate Recovery. I have had a real issue with another member on our leadership team that has still not been resolved. It has to do with this person's commitment to being honest and sincere in our small group and being honest in general. I have been reluctant to confront this person because of my own co-dependency. So today I am thinking I have to handle this. I cannot let this go on. I leave a message for this person and it hits me. How can I be down on this person for their recovery when I have been stalled on my ninth step. The ninth step for those of you who don't know is this.

We made direct amends to such people when ever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

I admit it. I have been a total coward on this step. There are two primary people whom I need to ask forgiveness from. These things occured over four years ago before I went into recovery. One involves betrayal of a best friend and mentor. The other I took complete advantage of while renting their home.

About six months ago I noticed Sam (names have been changed of course.) in a parking lot of the building I attend corporate sales meetings at. I like to have died. Sam was my former boss and best friend I had betrayed in the depths of my addiction. I was talking on my cell phone, I walked on by hoping he didn't run up and smack me. I don't know whether or not he saw me but I was relieved there was no confrontation. I saw Sam a few more times after that. In the parking lot and clever fellow that I am, deduced he was officing out of the building. I even did some detective work and figured out which office was his. From that moment forward I knew was going to have to approach him and ask for his forgiveness. I avoided it like the plague but it continued to be a burden on my heart.

Flash back to today. This morning I was trying to decide how to confront my fellow Celebrate Recovery member on getting real and it hit me. How can I tell him to get real when I won't even finish my ninth step? I made up my mind. After my sales meeting this morning I would see Sam, ask him for forgiveness and then go and confront my friend.

I leave my meeting and then walk through the building to where Sam's office is and I chickened out. I could not make myself walk in the door. I took a breath and here comes the old feelings of worthlessness and shame. All of a sudden I needed to answer the call of nature. Head down I walked into the restroom. I used the facilities and slowly made for the building exit.

I open then door and walk into the bright lit Texas sky and guess who is coming up the walkway? Sam.

I had no escape. There was no way we could miss each other. The only way I could have gotten away would have been to jump the hedges. He was talking on his cell phone. I waited, smiling up at the sky. I knew this was all Christ's doing. He hung up and we shook hands. I looked him in the eye and right there asked him to forgive me for what I had done. He was a bit taken aback and said that it was all right. I said no, it wasn't all right what I did was wrong and please forgive me. He did. We made some inconsequential small talk, (nervousness) I gave him my card and we left it at that.

I kind of walked on air all the way back to my car. I knew what my Savior had done for me. Not just in arranging Sam and I to meet but His dying on the cross for my sins. I know now I had nothing to fear in taking this step. This has been another nail in the coffin for fear in my life. I'll invite y'all to the wake.



Shirley Buxton said...

My goodness, Larry. This is the best funeral I ever attended. I'm staring at my screen, with tears on my face because of the profound words I have just read.

You are a brave, talented man, whom God has redeemed, rescued and is using for the advancement of His kingdom. I bless the day we met.


Mandylea said...

All I can say right now is OUCH. I heard words there that I needed to hear but also some that have me even more perplexed in regards to my latest post.

Anyway, I am very proud of you and thank you for setting the example for the rest of us.


Helen Losse said...

Dear Larry, Thank you for sharing this wonderful testimony of what the Lord Jesus Christ can do. You'll be in my prayers. Love, Helen

Larry said...

Thank you all for your kind comments. It was an amazing experience. While I was waiting for "Sam" to end his phone call I just stood there smiling like an idiot, looking at the sky. Knowing what God had done.


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