Now that we have established a measure of faith in God and are seeking to do His will, we find ourselves concerned about the past as it relates to truth and honesty. Many of us have been living in a state of denial for some time and are now beginning to see ourselves through the light of truth. In the past we would justify our thinking and behavior, or place blame on others for the problems we had created. We are now willing to take ownership of our past actions by making a searching and fearless moral (truthful and honest) written inventory of ourselves.
Step Four suggests we take a detailed look at ourselves to identify our past thoughts and behaviors as they relate to right and wrong. By honestly looking at our past, we are able to define who we are today in relationship to our values, character traits, and the principles we currently live by. To be honest with ourselves regarding our past can be challenging. In the past we avoided looking too closely at ourselves, fearing the truth of what we had become. Picturing ourselves fearlessly inventorying our past is likely to generate intense feelings of fear. Remember that fearless does not mean “without fear.” Fearless means that we are committed to search through even the darkest areas of our lives, regardless of what we may find. Once we clearly see our past behaviors with truth and honesty, we will learn how they have affected who we have become.
As we consider the magnitude of Step Four, and the challenge it presents, we may feel overwhelmed. Remember the faith building experiences in the previous steps and the trust we now have in God as we have come to know Him, for;
“He is the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation…”
(2 Corinthians 1:3, 4)
By first turning to God, we will find the comfort, courage and guidance we need.
He is the very source that will assist us to find peace and healing.
As we begin to progress in our recovery, we may discover that the addictions plaguing our lives are generally not the entire problem. Rather, the addiction is a symptom of deeper issues needing to be resolved. Therefore, honesty is especially vital in working this step. Without total and complete honesty, we may not discover the issues that Christ could help us with the most.
Discovering the true core values of right and wrong, can bring a startling clear insight into who we really are; a valued child of great worth, to a loving Heavenly Father.
By making a searching and fearless moral written inventory, we are able to sort out the specific details of a confused past. As we review the events of our past, we should keep in mind that they do not define our future. What we will learn of ourselves as we work this step will ultimately inspire a change of direction in our lives. We do not have to be what we have always been. As we examine our trials and weaknesses, we come to recognize these experiences as great learning opportunities. The weaknesses we uncover can be key elements the Lord eventually helps turn into strengths as we continue applying spiritual principles to our lives.
“And if men come unto me I will show them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” (Ether 12: 27)
Elder F. Enzio Busche, Ensign Nov. 1993, p.24
“The issue is truth, and the only way to find truth is through uncompromising self-education toward self honesty. I must see the original “real me,” the child of God in its innocence and potential in contrast to the influence from the other part of me, [the
flesh], with its selfish desires and foolishness.”
How would self honesty help you to see the vast difference between the “real you” and the person you have been?
“And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust
of the earth...”
Why does the Lord want you to acknowledge your bad behaviors?
“I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was tormented with the pains of hell; yea, I saw that I had rebelled against my God, and that I had not kept his holy commandments.”
How has your past negative behaviors kept you from coming closer to Heavenly Father?
In what way does the memory of former behaviors torment you?
“And the rebellious shall be pierced with much sorrow; for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops, and their secret acts shall be revealed.”
2 Nephi 30:17
“There is nothing which is secret save it shall be revealed; there is no work of darkness save it shall be made manifest in the light; and there is nothing which is sealed upon the earth save it shall be loosed.”
Why is it NOW important to make a fearless, moral inventory of your past?
2 Nephi 28:28
“And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall.”
How can the Spirit of the Lord help you to endure the truth found in your inventory?
As you begin to write your moral inventory, if you will ask Heavenly Father in humble prayer for guidance, He will whisper into your heart what you should write. What whisperings
have you heard?
2 Corinthians 12:9
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect
How can your weaknesses help you to become strong?
How do your weaknesses make Christ’s work on your behalf more perfect?