Scary, But Not Insurmountable

In the 12 Step Program, two pairs of steps may appear to be insurmountable obstacles. Steps 4 and 5 ask for a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves and then for us to confess to ourselves, to God, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. Steps 8 and 9 ask us to make a list of all people we have wronged and then to make amends to each.

On their surface these seem very difficult and maybe even punitive. In Pastor Brian’s Easter message, however, he pointed out two very important directions we are given as Christians. First, understand our reliance must be on God. Indeed, we may not have the strength to complete what these steps require. This is exactly why, in Step 3, we turned our will and lives over to the care of God. Now, we have the power, strength and determination to complete such demanding acts. Second, we need to keep in mind WHY we are asked to complete such challenging work. Attaining true freedom from our past and avoiding the same trappings in our future is why. We need to identify our wrongdoing and seek forgiveness and God’s help in removing these defects of character (Steps 6 & 7). The amends process allow us to walk through life looking everyone squarely in the eye knowing that we have done the right thing in cleaning up any messes left behind in our past.

The freedom we gain is truly remarkable. Personally, I found the amend process to be extremely positive … ok, with one exception but even that was anticipated and not all that bad. Did these steps eliminate all regrets? No, not really. But they allow me to live knowing there’s nothing hidden. One of our sayings is, “We’re no sicker than our secrets,” which is why all of mine were shown the light of day and I actively try to not generate any more. I believe that living as an open book is a good thing.

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