Listen to this quote from a recovery website:

Most alcoholics have a deep—almost pathological—sense of justice. If we are wronged (meaning often that we did not get what we wanted), or even conjure up the notion that we might have been wronged, we find full justification to express anger or harbor resentment. It then seems almost a duty to carry a justified resentment. Otherwise those who have wronged us would get off scot-free. And that wouldn't be right, would it? So, we waste our God-given lives judging and punishing our fellows. Relinquishing a justified resentment is one of the most difficult experiences known to the alcoholic.[i]

Have you ever had a messy garage or basement or junk drawer that needed sorting through? Right now I have all three.

When I finally get the nerve to go through my stuff, I usually discover things that I should have thrown away long ago. I also find some surprises as I discover things I need and things I did not need to buy all over again.

We usually keep people away from the junk rooms because we are embarrassed by the mess we’ve created.

Steps four and five of recovery state:

STEP FOUR: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

STEP FIVE: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

These spiritual practices take a hard look through our inventory of experiences, attitudes and behaviours. The dangerous, harmful and unsightly things have to go. Step four talks about looking deep into your closet and seeing what’s there.

I’m intrigued by the word ‘fearless’. Usually when it comes to examining our faults we resist the truth. We may in fact be quite afraid of the darkness in our soul.

It is an examination of our moral condition. Morality is the distinction between right and wrong or good and evil.

The Psalm writer David said,

Psalm 139:
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

If David were around today, he might well attend a 12 step meeting. Or he would worship at a church that allowed him to be open and confess his faults. We want church to be a place of healing, but that often depends on our willingness to be vulnerable and confessional.

I don’t think that we start to get ‘fearless’ until we do the earlier steps of admitting that the house is a mess and we need help to get it back in shape. By turning to God we discover that His perfect love changes our mind about changing the mess.

We need God and the company of good people who will not mock and judge us when they see the garbage piles in our life.