by Bill Peters
Principle Six of the Road to Recovery: Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others (Steps Eight and Nine).
“Blessed are the merciful.” (Matthew 5:7) “Blessed are the peacemakers.” (Matthew 5:9)
“Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:4-7)
Ah, finger pointing. It is so easy to start doing and to keep up. No training is required. Experience comes quickly. And I have learned to point my fingers at many things in this life. I have probably done it more than most, and I’m not bragging. In fact, I am a reforming addict—addicted to finger pointing and trying to quit. Call it what you will—blaming, accusing, gossiping, condemning—I know what it is and finger-pointing is not good. A family culture of finger pointing can create a very difficult and impossible way to deal with problems.
Pointing fingers is easy – but I am reminded of the little exercise where you point your index finger and form your hand into the shape of a gun. Your thumb is straight up as the hammer, your index finger is the barrel, and your other 3 fingers are the handle of the gun. If you do this properly, what you’ll find is that one finger points forward but 3 fingers point backwards. Its a great spiritual analogy of putting the blame on others. When we point our finger at them – we have 3 fingers pointing back at us. I have learned from Celebrate Recovery that the three fingers pointing back towards me are my own hurts, habits and hangups in life. Who is to blame for my situations and life’s ups and downs? Sure, others play a part – but the reality is that I play an even larger part by how I react, how I respond, and how I carry any situation forward.
In a Celebrate Recovery step study, we examine ourselves for the issues that have caused us hurts, habits and hangups in life and develop a life inventory. We first focus on the three fingers that point back to us. Yes, we look at who has harmed us and whom we have harmed but we intently look for our part in every situation – our words, our attitudes, and our reactions. We decide to no longer point fingers at others without looking truthfully at ourselves first. We prayerfully and wisely separate and confess our part out for each situation. We also determine whom we need to forgive and whom we need to make amends to and develop a plan to do just that with our sponsor’s help. Hands that once were busy as pointed fingers are now busy seeking to find other people’s fingers to clasp in love and friendship and healing.