“That’s a spiritual lifestyle, being willing to admit that you don’t know everything and that you were wrong about some things. It’s about making a list of all the people you’ve harmed, either emotionally or physically or financially, and going back and making amends. That’s a spiritual lifestyle. It’s not a fluffy ethereal concept.”
― Anthony Kiedis, Scar Tissue (2004)
Having resolved that what we did was wrong, we have a number of choices. Will we consider the losses to the other person – not just materially, but intangibly too – and make amends, or will we just wing it? After all, if we pretend that no amends is needed maybe they will, too, out of being polite.
A morally fair and spiritually sane person will see amends as the only option.
The reason they see it as the only option is they wisely view relationships as the objective of life itself. They don’t view people as objectives, but as the beloved of God. They notice the sanctity in a person, within them, around them, and between them and others.
Because relational life is the most important asset for living, and because its only gauge of success is truth, truth is what sets relationships free to soar. But when the truth is denied, then people are hurt and betrayed.
And making things right, having done wrong, is but one key way of ensuring faltering relationships can soar. Otherwise there is a barrier to trust.
‘Just Give Me the Truth’
Brave ones will just want the truth, whether they know they can handle it or not. Indeed, because it’s the truth, and the truth is so important to them, they are willing to pay the price – yes, even if they can’t handle it initially.
One vital truth we all know, probably by instinct, is that wrongs need to be set right. When one is transgressed, it can be put right again, if the one transgressed and the transgressor agree. All it takes is the willingness of the one who has done wrong.
If the one who did wrong can’t see it, the process of amends stalls before it starts. And if both are in the wrong, it almost certainly takes one to get the ball rolling!
What Shape Does Amends Need to Take?
Amends needs thought on our behalf – the development of a plan for what we must do and what we may be required to do – before we approach the other person. But amends is best done by agreement. So long as they are happy, and we are diligent enough to check, then the result is likely to be an effective one.
Above all, and beyond the actual ‘shape’ of the amends, is the spirit of serving that needs to accompany the amends. Amends’ work the very best when we are totally sincere and our integrity can’t be questioned – to the point of us being ready to be wrong, to serve, to be submissive.
We cannot make amends and take the moral high ground at the same time. A patient type of submission that attends to their needs is most important if we are to be genuine and actually see the amends work.
Making things right having done wrong is simply a matter of upholding justice and honouring truth. Some relationships can’t continue unless there are amends made. If we have done wrong we should be humble enough to make amends.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.