The Importance of Making Amends in Baseball, Politics and Personal Relationships
Posted Jun 06 2010 10:33pm
Making amends is the process of correcting an error and rectifying a wrong. It is a very important part of the social contract because, above all else, it is the right thing to do. It does, however, have other perks.
It has the potential to build character, self-respect, and self-esteem, to resolve resentments, and to restore trust, all of which can lead to greater well-being for the individual and society.
Unfortunately, there is an unwillingness on the part of many people to address past errors and correct them. Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig’s recent decision, to not correct the obvious umpire error that cost Armando Galarraga his perfect game, speaks to this issue.
From what I understand, one of the reasons Commissioner Selig refused to reverse the incorrect call at first base was because, if he did so, it would lead to any number of requests from other people to correct other past errors as well. This would require the commitment of a great deal of time, money and energy, which is something Commissioner Selig was not inclined to do.
This reminded me of President Obama’s decision, when he came into office, to not prosecute past transgressions of the Bush Administration because he preferred to focus his attention on the future and not get bogged down with the past.
Neither of these decisions by the Commissioner and the President constitute wise choices, insofar as they minimize the importance of championing truth and justice regardless of how unpleasant or inconvenient it might be to do so. Additionally, they represent extremely poor role-modeling.
In 12-Step programs, making amends is an important part of the healing process. When a recovering alcoholic reaches out to those he has injured in the past, apologizes for his bad behavior, and makes amends as best as he can, it removes shame and guilt, it helps him to clear away the wreckage of his past, it helps him to rebuild self-esteem and self-respect, and it has the potential to heal his relationships as well.
All of the above is true, whether one is a recovering alcoholic or not. When we have committed an injustice against another, it is our responsibility and our salvation to make amends, to repair the situation, and to make things right as best we can.