5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
In the previous step, Courage, we made a list of things that others did to us, and that we have done: both that were very personally sensitive to us. Previous to that we likely never wanted to write such things down. And so it took courage to press through all our emotionally painful and fearful feelings, to accomplish this task.
And we must have accomplished this “Courage” step, before step 5. Because in step 5 we are actually going to use this list to tell someone else about it!
Let God First See the List
But before we do that, we are first going to openly share this list with God. Not that he can’t already see it. But rather, because he wants to see whether we will acknowledge it, and seek his help for it.
“God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.” ~ Psalm 53:2
We must open the list before God’s eyes and invite him to help us with it. Because the reality is that God knows everything about us already. There is nothing hidden from him. He actually knows us, better than we know ourselves. But he wants to see how honest we will openly be with him, and ourselves.
“O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.” ~ Psalm 139:1-12
Find Someone You Trust to Share Your List With
Opening up to another enables us to get a different perspective, from someone who does not have a specific emotional attachment to “what we have been through”. Therefore it is best that this person is not a family member, nor a friend from the past, who has a knowledge of our past. And it is usually best that they are not familiar with people we have been hurt by, nor familiar with people that we have hurt, in our past.
Additionally, if we are a man, the person that we speak to should also be a man. So also if we are a woman, the person we speak to should be a woman. The problem is when one is speaking to sensitive things, to a person of the opposite sex, that there could be unintended emotional attachment issues. And that would only distract from helping us to deal with these personal issues in our own life.
Finally, it is important that this person is someone we can both trust, and depend upon to “be there.” As we work through overcoming addiction, there will be times that we need this close friend, that we can call and talk to. And so it is important that this person is spiritually mature in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Because this person not only needs to give us sound nurturing, but they also need to be able to agree in prayer with us, when we need it.
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” ~ James 5:16
There are many types of prayers that people will typically say. But an effectual fervent prayer is something different. It is something that comes from deep within, because it is about something that deeply affects us. Sometimes what deeply affects us, is too heavy to even express in words.
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” ~ Romans 8:26-27
Therefore when seeking someone that we will share our list with, let us carefully consider whether they are the right one for us. Do they know how to get the mind of the Holy Spirit? Do they know how to listen, and not to judge? Do they know how to comfort another in the midst of great difficulty? Are they themselves stable enough and calm enough to be qualified?
The Scriptures give us some direction in how to understand someone’s qualification as a listener in this case.
“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:14
The purpose is not to judge, but rather to nurture. To patiently work with you, so that you might recover and be healed.
“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” ~ 2 Timothy 2:24-26
The one with an addiction, has in the past been under the control of Satan. And so they were taken captive by him whenever the emotional pain would overwhelm them, as they ran back to their soothing addiction. But now they are seeking for the comfort of the Holy Spirit. And there still may be things in the way of their faith being able to receive the Spirit’s comfort. So for now they may need to receive it through the nurturing and comfort of a friend. And so this true friend must even know how to share in the emotions of the other when necessary.
“Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” ~ Romans 12:15
Becoming Vulnerable is Necessary
How we approach God is critical to us reaching him, and being healed. And so it will take courage and integrity to open up to another what is emotionally troubling us.
“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” ~ Proverbs 28:13
In this step we make ourselves vulnerable to another, and it is humbling. Addicts will be actors. They put on another face and personality, so that others will think differently of them, and not see their pain. So the addict leads a double life. We need to quit “the show” and humble ourselves to be just who we are.
“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” ~ Luke 18:13-14
Too often in the past it has been circumstances, or others, that have humbled us. Sometimes that can be very painful also. The power is in: when we humble ourselves. Because we open up ourselves to the power of God!
“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” ~ 1 Peter 5:5-8
Satan is able to swallow us up in emotional pain when we don’t humble ourselves. But when we humble ourselves, that is when God is able to exalt us. And that is when and how the healing comes!
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” ~ 1 John 1:8-9
Again, some of our behaviors are definitely influenced by things others have done to us. But nevertheless, how we behave is still our responsibility. Therefore we must take responsibility by developing this list, and working with the Lord through our painful past. So we can be healed!
“Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” ~ Hebrews 12:12-13