Voices of Recovery today says, “It’s as if a despair-proof seal is around my heart now, and only peace, serenity and joy can seep in. …By accepting my past and the truth about my life today, I’ve found the absolute joy of realizing what a gift this life is.”

Proverbs 16:17 reminds me of Step 9. “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.” I see making amends as reestablishing peace where there was pain. This opens the hatch to let out shame and guilt and frees me to live clean one new day at a time. That kind of peace is contagious and even disarms those who would like to say or do something negative to one who lives this way. I hope to be such a one.

God’s response to Israel’s cohabitation of the Promised Land was to hand Israel over to their new neighbors to be plundered and abused. Judges 2:15 says, “They were in great distress.” But, as if foreshadowing what He would do for me, He repeatedly provided a way back to Him. Verse 16, “Then the LORD raised up judges who saved them out of the hands of these raiders.” Because of their rebellion, however, He didn’t rout them completely. He said, in verse 22, “I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the LORD and walk in it as their forefathers did.”

Yesterday, I compared these Canaanites to my character defects, which one might tend to nurse rather than release in Step 6. Today, I read of the consequences, and how God will allow us to hurt ourselves when we step out of the falls of His perfect will for us. Until we mend what is corrupted we, like Israel, live under the same kind of burden as verse 3, where the messenger of God said, “Now therefore I tell you that I will not drive them out before you; they will be thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.” That will put the “humbly” in Step 7, for sure! (“Humbly asked Him to remove all these defects of character.”)