STEP EIGHT Seek forgiveness from those we hurt unless doing so would cause further harm.
Instruction: Ask for forgiveness.
For one reason or another, not everyone will feel a need to work this Step. In fact, there may be other Steps that don’t seem to resonate with individuals, and we want to encourage each person to find what works for them and what does not. If any Step seems wrong to an individual, we encourage them to listen to the prompting of their heart, their intuition, and their common sense. The ultimate test in deciding which Steps we work and which ones we don’t should be our heart. If we work a Step, such as Step Eight, because it has the potential to make us feel good about ourselves, but we fail to consider how our actions might affect someone else, then we might want to stop, rethink, and make sure that what we do does not violate what Love would have us do.
Before we set off on a campaign to make things right, let’s stop to consider if we are making things better or worse for those involved. There might be times when we need to set our needs aside in order to prevent more harm to those who are already hurting.
Step Eight may prove to be the most difficult Step for many people. When our pride comes into play, we can find it challenging to admit we were wrong and to ask someone to overlook our shortcomings. We don’t like to admit that we make mistakes, especially when we consider those mistakes to be big ones. We don’t have a problem asking forgiveness for minor offenses such as gossiping or bending the rules, but when we have done something that seems to us to be unforgivable, we often balk at seeking out the ones we offended in order to make amends. Courage is tested when it comes to asking for forgiveness, especially if we fear the asking could reveal hidden secrets that threaten to cause more pain, hurt, and suffering. That is why Step Eight warns of making sure our actions don’t do more harm than good.
For today, let’s not take any concrete action unless we feel compelled by Love to do so. Let’s sit with the concept of this Step and think about, meditate, and/or contemplate how we can apply this to our life and in what way we can be sure that when and if we decide to ask for forgiveness, we can accomplish that without causing further harm.
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Our purpose is to help individuals to heal who have been injured by religion or the religious. We welcome your comments and questions.