Blog & Articles

The Lists We Keep by Jeff Ernst, MA

Several years ago a popular TV show depicted a man who set out to make amends to all the people he had offended, hurt, cheated, lied to, and stole from.  Basically, this person kept a running list, and dedicated his life to seeking out those individuals, doing right by them, and then crossing their names off the list.

Now, I’m not blogging today to say we should be keeping a similar list. However, his example and perseverance should cause us to stop and examine if we are keeping an un-written list of all those we have offended, or been offended by, possibly triggering guilt feelings, anxiety, and damaged emotions.

Making amends is a key part of on-going emotional health, as well as an on-going spiritual journey toward freedom from residual baggage…to keep our slate clean and our relationships with God and others close.

As we approach this Christmas season, with our lists for gifts to buy and gifts to receive, my hope is that we not forget a list for making amends…to those we’ve hurt, offended, been resentful and unforgiving toward, or others we’ve refused to love and forgive, because they’ve hurt and wounded us.

One of the most powerful resources for emotional healing and freedom from anxiety is the gift of making amends…of forgiveness!  First, when we accept God’s grace and mercy for ourselves, He promises to wipe the slate clean and blot out our transgressions. This frees us from pervasive guilt and remorse.  The scriptures are clear:

“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my sake,

And remembers your sins no more.” (Isaiah 43:25, NIV)

Once we experience such forgiveness, we can get out the lists we’ve kept stored in our minds and hearts, and pass on the gift of grace to other people.

What a great Christmas and New Year’s resolution gift: The gift of making amends…Crossing those names off the list once and forever!  Sounds like a fantastic script and title for a TV show…We could call it “My Name Is ‘Forgiveness’ – Let Me Wipe Your Slate (List) Clean!”


Take the next step. Call for an appointment.