Step 3 

We repent of our own sins. 

“It wasn’t my fault, but it is now my responsibility. I take responsibility, with joy.” 

This step is easier said than done. However, we do not neglect this step. We recognize that repentance is the core of the program. 

We so want to think well of ourselves! It is a natural human tendency. We resist admitting we were wrong. We make so many excuses. We resist apologizing. 

We could almost say that every act of genuine repentance is miraculous. 

Learning to admit we are wrong is a great liberation. We can move forward. We are no longer trapped in our old patterns, our old habits, our old self-deceptions. 

So go back to the inventory prepared in Step 2.  Begin these steps, choosing one problem behavior to work on at a time. After you have taken steps toward repentance and making amends, choose other behaviors to focus on. This process will become easier with practice. 

  • Confront excuse-making and rationalizations. Resolve to eliminate these behaviors.
  • Let go of blaming others. 
  • Tell God we are sorry. Whatever our faith tradition teaches about this, enter into it and do it! The more tangible and concrete, the better. (Those who are Catholic, go to confession!)
  • Make amends to those we have harmed, except where to do so would harm them or others. 
    • Tell them we are sorry. 
    • Repair damage, if possible. 
  • Confront our finger-pointing and judgment. 
  • Confront our over-indulgence of ourselves and others. 
  • Find ways to show people we love them, without affirming any sinful behavior they may be involved in. 
  • Continue to ask forgiveness, as needed. 
  • Continue to forgive others, as needed. 
  • Take heart from the words of Jesus: the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel. Our repentance is participation in building up the kingdom of God. We remind ourselves that there is more at stake here than just ourselves and how we feel right now! 

Suggestions for Step 3: We repent of our own sins. 

  1. Fill out the free worksheet .
  2. Make a plan for confronting your issues of blaming, finger-pointing and excuse-making.  
  3. Ask your friends for encouragement and support as you plan to make amends. Ask them to pray for you. 
  4. Before you reach out to the person to whom you are going to make amends, practice what you are going to say. You can practice with a trusted friend, clergy member or with your friends in the Ruth Refuge. 
  5. Our book, 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage: Simple Ways for Couples to Grow Closer to God and to Each Other, has a chapter on Forgiveness. You may find this helpful.

Do you feel at peace, as you speak the truth about your actions to another person and as you make amends?

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:15