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Step 4 – Honesty and Introspection

Step 4 – Honesty and Introspection

Step 4: We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. Luke 18:11

I recently overheard someone berating another individual behind his back. It’s unbelievable how arrogant and condescending that guy is. He’s completely unaware of his pride. How clueless! I was offended by the one doing the condescending. I thought, This guy is actually the one who is completely unaware of his pride. Unbelievable. How clueless. It was only later that I realized that I was guilty of the same behavior that annoyed me. I’m often oblivious to my own faults.

This is the tone of Christ’s story in today’s passage where he describes a Pharisee and a tax collector in the temple. The tax collector knows his sin and approaches God in complete humility. God, be merciful to me, a sinner! The Pharisee, absolutely unaware of his hideous pride, thanks God that he’s not a loser like the tax collector. Jesus insisted that one of the men went home forgiven and other one didn’t.

It is the nature of pride to blind us to our flaws. The alcoholic may, in his disaster, accept his alcoholism, but alcohol is only one of his problems. The recovering alcoholic, seduced by pride in his sobriety, often remains blind to the fact that he’s still a jerk, even when sober. I know. I’ve been there. Sometimes, I’m still there.

Step four requires that we take a painful look inward, cataloging all the flaws and defects that cause misery in our lives. It’s particularly difficult then, for those who struggle with honesty, to truly recover as they will never accept that they are the root of their problems. Step four requires this realization: I’m my own greatest life problem. I’m responsible for my recovery, faith, and joy. I can try to blame others, but I can only work on me.

If we desire faith and recovery, we must learn to continually ask: How am I self-destructive? How do I contribute to my life problems? Where did I go wrong yesterday? What do I need to work on today? Those who cannot be brutally honest about their own defects won’t recover. Step four is painful, but if we want out of our disaster we must start by looking inward.

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  1. Teresa says:

    Thanks for blogging through these 12 steps. I have always wondered what they are. It does always come back to the foundation of things, ourselves and who we are in Christ.

    • Scott says:

      You’re welcome! Thanks for reading and encouraging. Since being introduced to the 12 steps, I’ve found them to be very practical ways to “do” faith. They are certainly not the only way, but they are helpful tools for those of us who struggle with anything. I’m a doer and a pragmatic person, so I need some structure, or I just sit back and do nothing sometimes.

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