Matthew 7: 7-12
Step 8: Who have you wronged and hurt?
Jesus shows us the virtue of perseverance and its application in prayer and in our willingness to make amends with those we have hurt. As we discovered in step 5, our seeking amends has a healing affect to those whom we have hurt as well as to us. And this must be done in conjunction with our prayer and spiritual growth. It has to be real and not forced or pretended. Our motivation to persist in our service to God is the desire to draw near to Him for what He has done for us. Consider the amount of time the Apostles, and even Jesus (when He walked this Earth) spent in prayer. Now, consider how much more we need to pray, then compare it with how much time you actually spend in prayer. The Christian life does not run on autopilot. It needs persistence-constant navigational resetting, and hands-on steering. In order to line up our lives with His plan and Will, we have to be willing and able to surrender to His concerns. We do this through knowing His Word and praying. Then we can have the calm and commitment in confidence to go to those we hurt.
- Ask and it will be given-This is saying that we have the right and ability (by what Christ has done on the cross) to go directly to God in prayer. There is no need for intermediaries or special priests or rituals.
- There is a promise in this passage that gives us the confidence that He hears our prayers and even answers them. But, we are not to assume that God answers our whims and desires. We are not the focus of the prayer, nor are we God. He, God and Lord of the universe, is sovereign, and His Will is to be sought, brought into our hearts and minds, and then put into practice.
- We also have to have the confidence that His answer is best! We often seek those things that are not beneficial or right for us because our view, understanding, and thinking do not include all of the information. We only see our temporary and immediate needs, whereas God sees it all-the outcome that we do not see.
- His answers are conditioned upon our abiding in Him and His Will (John 15:7; James 4:3; 1 John 5:14-15)! How sad it is that so many Christians never enjoy God's favor, simply because they do not ask! Have you asked, sought, or knocked today? This takes our continuous action and persistence (Luke 11:5-8; 18:1-8)!
- For us to really learn and apply the Bible so we are on the road to recovery, we have to learn to be persistent so we can receive His blessings, be a blessing to others, and hear His call. Making amends will be a blessing beyond measure; this is why we do this. It is to bring healing and reconciliation not dead and fear (Psalm 1:1-3; 119:97-104)!
- Being evil-this often refers to the universal, sinful nature that all of humanity shares, which was the prime reason Christ came to pay that debt of sin so we could go directly to Him in prayer. So we can seek…. You know the sin that got you in your situation; now you have Christ to help get you out of it!
- As a Christian, saved by grace, our original sin has been covered (atonement means covering); however, we are still filled with sin. As we grow in Christ, we should have the inclination to sin less and be more devoted to His Will. But, we are still in sin.
- Good gifts/things are the things that are important, that are essential in the practice of the faith. They include righteousness, sincerity, purity, wisdom, and humility. Without such characters as the proof test that Christ has saved us and the Holy Spirit is working in us (Luke 11:13 parallel that adds the Spirit), we would fail to follow His precepts and be of no good to those around us.
- When you realize you have made a mistake, take immediate initiative to correct it! This way you do not have to do this step again! Keep in mind respect for yourself, respect for the other person(s), and your responsibility for all your actions!
This step is hard for most. But it is necessary in our healing and recovery process. It removes the baggage we carry, helping and freeing us of guilt. It is liberating and worth our efforts ever so much more than you may ever think. This passage needs not to be memorized as much as it needs to be functional!It calls for commitment, and is something to be accomplished! God desires that we be in close relationship to Him, not merely seeking what we can get. He will give us what we need, and much more! If you only seek what you think you want, you will never have a clue what maturity and surrender mean (Gal. 2:20-21).
Do not take it personally when people do not want to meet with you or take your forgiveness! They may not be ready or maybe they have already given up, but the fact you made an effort will have a lasting impression on them even if they do not say or show it!
- What does making amends mean to you? What are your fears and obstacles? What help do you need and who can do it?
- How will making amends give you peace and contentment and help you recover?
- Have you considered the value of perseverance and its application to prayer?
- Why would some Christians think that prayer is like a vending machine or God like a bellhop, so we seek what we want, and what we want to do if we have enough faith? Why is that appealing to some people? How appealing is seeking His will? Which really requires more faith: to get what you want or to serve Him?
- Prayer is getting our mindset aligned with His. What are some of the things that get you sidetracked from pursuing your faith more deeply though prayer?
- Do you have the confidence that He hears your prayers and answers them? What is your focus in prayer?
- Do you also have the confidence that His answers are best? If so, why do we experience stress and worry?
- How does this passage deal with making amends?
- What are the good gifts that you seek?
- How can this passage influence your ability to make amends? How can your counselor and/or church help you? What do you need to do to make this happen in your mindset, prayers, determination, and follow through?
- So what is a plan to get started on this journey of making amends?
- Take your list from step 5, (you may write it out in two columns, first with the names and second the offence. Just like the TV show Earl) review it to make sure no one is left out and now go for it!
Mediate on these passages for the next week or more: Matt. 18:21-35; Romans 12 with careful attention to verses 17-19
See our forgiveness channel at Fellowship for more helps on this:
© 1990, 2002, 2008, Dr. Richard J. Krejcir, Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org/