Step Five- Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Over the past few weeks, we have examined our failings and sins. The purpose has not been to feel badly about ourselves. It is to examine the habits, fears, and patterns that lead us into wrong thinking. Until we examine our past and step back from our individual faults and sins, we cannot see the sin patterns and character defects that we all have. I am sure if you look over your list of harms and fears, you will notice a pattern. For example, I noticed that all of the sins of my life were committed out of fear. How does that help me? Now that I recognize that is my weakness, I can remember that whenever I find myself afraid. I can stop and think – Is this fear justified? What is fear telling me to do? Isn’t that wrong?
Since learning this about myself I have learned to ask myself in fearful situations; Am I acting out of fear or love. It has not been easy and I have not been perfect. Stopping and praying about my fear has helped me to change my pattern. I have a fearful nature. When it gets difficult I stop and remind myself that in Job 11: 15 I am promised- “Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure and will not fear.” The root of your most common sin might be anger, jealousy, greed or lust. Knowing this will help you to recognize it when it rises in you. In Romans 12: 3-8 the Bible tells us to “Know Thyself.” Jesus asks “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? (Matthew 7: 3).
The first step to healing is to admit our sin pattern and character defects to ourselves. Living in truth is initially difficult. None of us, especially those who love Jesus, want to admit that we have failed to meet His expectations. We want to please Him. It hurts to admit to Him and ourselves that we have fallen short. That is pure pride! Everyone has failed. The Bible tells us in Romans 3: 23 – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” He came to take on our sins and bring them to die on the cross. And the lie is that He doesn’t already know the truth. We hide like Adam and Eve in the garden. God made us. He watched us grow and watched our childhood affect our personality. He not only knows the truth. He is the Truth.
It is sin and the evil one who offers us freedom and then delights when we are imprisoned by our sins. When I was a teenager, in the midst of my rebellious years, I smoked cigarettes because all my friends did. I thought it made me grown up and in charge. I disobeyed my parents. Later, after I was hooked on nicotine, I realized that I had become a slave. God offered me freedom. But first I had to admit the truth to myself. With the truth and God’s grace, I was able to overcome my addiction. Now I realize that it was fear of rejection by my friends that started my nicotine addiction.
As a nurse I know that a patient cannot be healed until the disease is diagnosed, the cause hopefully found, and treatment begun. When you are sick, you need to do tests to find out if it is cancer, heart disease, or infection. The treatment for each is different. You heal when you apply the right treatment. That is why you need to examine your soul and spirit. Knowledge is power and with the truth you can find the right Bible verse, prayer, and spiritual guidance. You can avoid what we Catholics call the ‘near occasions of sin.’ Maybe, you have a tendency to gossip. Perhaps you may even have to give up friends that draw you into that pattern. Maybe you tend to lie, or exaggerate. Finding the root cause of that sin will help you overcome it. Perhaps you steal, or you may just steal someone else’s reputation. Finding whether jealousy or greed is the root of that sin can make all the difference.
Finding the root cause of our character defects directs our feet toward the narrow gate. Living in truth means that we are on the right path. That goes for our personal life and our professional life. We have one spirit and one soul. We can’t be one person professionally and another personally. To be a spiritual writer, you have to be a spiritual person. Over the next two weeks ask the Holy Spirit to show you your sin patterns. Ask Him to reveal to you the first time you fell into that particular sin. What caused you to fall? In the next post we will examine healing and the great gift of the sacrament of reconciliation or confession. We will examine how healing ourselves heals our writing.
Karen Kelly Boyce is a mother of two and grandmother of two who lives on a farm in N.J. with her retired husband. She and her husband love to camp and take ‘road trips’ around the country. She has published four novels and three children’s books. Her website is www.karenkellyboyce.com