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This topic is adapted from the Eric Sitterud YouTube channel. This is part 5 of 7 in the Steps to Recovery series.

Admit to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

The fifth step of A.A. goes along with Step 4 about our personal inventory.  We are taking those things that we dug up and learned about ourselves and sharing them.  It almost mirrors the 1st step as we are asked to admit the truth about ourselves and get out of denial once more.

Now the fear of doing such a daunting task of being naked and exposed in front of other people can be for many, the very thing that holds one back from truly finding peace in recovery.  Many people would choose to omit some things, the deepest darkest things, and as a result find themselves in a relapse situation.  Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “You are only as sick as your deepest darkest secrets.”  Some may think that what they’ve done is worse than what should be talked about, maybe they are the worst person on earth!  In reality, there is nothing unique about what we’ve done.  There are others who have done the same things, and it will be done again.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV) What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

At this point, we want to get the sickness out of us and experience healing so we must move forward in the willingness to “tell all” to a “safe few” in order to recover.   Let’s break it down then, who exactly we admit our wrongs to.

To God

As we have said before, God already knows us and everything about our wrongs, but that doesn’t mean He doesn’t want us to be honest with Him about our lives.  It seems that a major part of repentance, which means “to change your mind”, has its value in confessing our sins to God.  He promises that, if we will speak up about our wrongs, He will forgive us and wipe the slate clean.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Jesus paid the price for all the wrongs of humanity.  Trusting God, in this case, would look like recklessly sharing yourself, warts and all, knowing that He unconditionally loves His children and no matter what we’ve done He will not turn us away!

To Ourselves

If we were honest in the personal inventory, it should have only confirmed that we cannot deny the truth about ourselves, we are messed up!  Of course, all people have their moments, but we took some wrongs to the next level.   Denial ,then, can be a mental battle throughout our entire lives.  Remaining true to ourselves can keep us from staying sick.

1 John 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

However, we have the opportunity to find peace when we self-reflect on our once devious nature and confess it even to ourselves.

To Another Human Being

Perhaps the scariest part of confession is being vulnerable with a tangible person.  It is very important to choose wisely who you share with.  They must be someone who is not too emotionally involved with your past and can give unbiased feedback when necessary.  Preferably, a christian counselor, sponsor or a mentor from your local church.

The idea of talking with someone about your wrongs has proven to work in our society for centuries.  For example, we know of the value of sitting across from a psychologist, venting and sharing things about one’s self that would not normally be shared.  Some religions have made confession a large part of their faith based on the importance of being able to tell a priest of their sins to feel some sort of affirmation and relief.

The Bible affirms the healing powers of confession.

James 5:16 (ESV) Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

When sharing our wrongs, we are no longer alone to live in despair about the mistakes we have made, rather, we join forces with the powers put in place by God to experience healing and further understanding of behaviors we hope to leave behind.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
  3. Share something funny that you think nobody else has done.
  4. Have you ever had to talk with a counselor?  Was it hard to open up?
  5. Do you think there is a difference between repentance and confession?
  6. Read 1 John 1:8-10.  Does this help you to be honest about yourself?
  7. Share about a behavior you have seen based off of your inventory.  What is the underlying issue?
  8. Tell us about your mentor or sponsor.  Are they a good fit for you?
  9. If comfortable, share something you are struggling with as a prayer request.
  10. Takeaway:  Practice asking for prayer with your mentor or your group.
  11. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

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