WHEN NOT TO APPROACH
It’s a good idea when you are planning to make amends to consult with someone who has mature character about your plan. You may be ready to go to the one you hurt, but they may not be ready to receive you.
In the AA Twelve Steps And Twelve Traditions, it says, ‘Good judgment, a careful sense of timing, courage, and prudence-- these are the qualities we shall need when we take Step Nine.’[i]
In desiring to have God’s Law in our heart we must remember that the principle of love is not legalistic. Love has a bigger picture in mind than simply right and wrong, checks and balances. While we do not want to lie and hide the truth, we also need to be sensitive to the effect on the one we would confess to.
Longsuffering means that we are willing to suffer the consequences that revealing the truth brings and also be willing to suffer a long time waiting for a peace that may not always be possible. Love holds us in place when the truth weighs heavy on our conscience.
In kindness, we make things right with those we have hurt. This is not our chance to seek a pat on the back or affirmation for doing the right thing. Love is not primarily concerned about the cost or benefit to self. Rather, love looks to benefit the other in a way that is meaningful to them.
It’s fair to say that you need to attempt to make amends when there is a direct knowledge of wrong between two parties. If my confession will bring freedom and encouragement, then it is my duty to do so. If you think direct amends would bring more harm than good, talk to someone with godly wisdom.