Principle 4: Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust.
“Happy are the pure in heart.” (Matthew 5:8)
Step 4: We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:40)
An important word of caution:
Do not begin this principle without a sponsor or a strong accountability partner (these are explained in Lesson 8)! You need someone you trust to help keep you balanced during this step, not to do the work for you. Nobody can do that except you. but you need encouragement from someone who will support your progress and hold you accountable. that’s what this program is all about.
Think About It
In this principle, you need to list (inventory) all the significant events – good and bad – in your life. you need to be as honest as you can be to allow God to show you your part and how that affected you and others. the acrostic for MORAL shows you how to begin.
Make time – set aside a special time to begin your inventory. Schedule an appointment with yourself. Set aside a day or a weekend to get alone with God! Clear your mind of the present hassles of daily life. “If not, listen to me; be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.” (Job 33:33, ESV)
Open – open your heart and your mind to allow the feelings that the pain of the past has blocked or caused you to deny. Try to “wake up” your feelings! Ask yourself, “What do I feel guilty about? What do I resent? What do I fear? Am I trapped in self-pity, alibis, and dishonest thinking?” “Let me express my anguish. Let me be free to speak out of the bitterness of my soul.” (Job 7:11, TLB)
Rely -rely on Jesus, your Higher Power, to give you the courage and strength this exercise requires. “Love the Lord, all you his saints. The Lord preserves the faithful, but abundantly repays the one who acts haughtily. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord. (Psalm 31:23 -24, NRSV)
Analyze – analyze your past honestly. To do a “searching and fearless moral inventory,” you must step out of your denial! That’s all the word moral means – honest! this step requires looking through your denial of the past into the truth! “The Lord gave us mind and conscience; we cannot hide from ourselves.” (Proverbs 20:27, GNT)
List – list both the good and the bad. Keep your inventory balanced! If you just look at all the bad things of your past, you will distort your inventory and open yourself to unnecessary pain. “Let us examine our ways and test them.” (Lamentations 3:40)
The verse doesn’t say, “Examine only your bad, negative ways.” You need to honestly focus on the pros and the cons of your past! As you compile your inventory, you will find that you have done some harmful things to yourself and others. No one’s inventory (life) is flawless. We have all “missed the mark” in some area of our lives. In recovery we are not to dwell on the past, but we need to understand it so we can begin to allow God to change us. Jesus told us, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10, NIV)