Admittedly, participating in the Christian 12 step program has been difficult.  But completing steps eight (8) and nine (9) can seem overpowering. Basically, steps eight (8) and nine (9) are listed accordingly:

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

As I’ve noted before,completing steps eight and nine offer tremendous challenges. One recipient noted that he was called by his offender almost fifteen years past to the date.  When asked why the offender contacted him now after so many years, he replied, “I just had a heart attack and found I needed to try and settle personal issues.”

Isn’t it amazing that when people are taken outside of their comfort zone, outside-the-box of their everyday grievances, opinions and prejudices that somehow the world looks different? There is certainly nothing like a term called mortality to wake us up from out petty, half-hearted ways.

Christian steps eight and nine are all about waking us up, to return to the very affirmation of love that brought us forth, that cared for us and grieved for us.

When we, the sinners who prostate ourselves in front of those whom we’ve sinned, we understand the pain, but hope the beauty of reconciliation can come forth to reunite and unify our hearts. Remember, that all us must weed out the poisons that clog our spiritual arteries and slowly cut our faith, killing love’s passion.

All who have sinned has at some point cut off God’s love from the heart of our soul. We need to take stock of where all this pain led us, what little it accomplish and how long has it divided. And it’s now about where love will lead us.  How can we become new men and women of Love? How can reach past the autumn leaves of our body, to once again stand affirmed by nature’s indelible gift of soul?

To all whom we caused great pain, the 12 Steps offer us (the sinners) to undergo a spiritual operation. It’s not only about your healing, but its about giving ourselves over to something so powerful, we can only meditate and pray upon its grace.

It’s about love: a love so powerful that neither God not man could break. It’s about restoration and soul; a process begun by simple words, “I forgive.”

For those who are lost, I suggest simply that one simply stop at the “Gas Station of Life” and get a map. The books, the letters, the doctrines of Buddha and Christ are well known.

American writer and theologian, Fredrick Buechner wrote,

When you forgive somebody who has wronged you, you’re spared the dismal corrosion of bitterness and wounded pride. For both parties, forgiveness means the freedom again to be at peace inside their own skins and to be glad in each others’ presence.

Forgive and forgive often. As Buddhist, I quote Václav Havel:

The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness and human responsibility.