Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
One of the most difficult aspects of learning the discipline of step 5 is discovering that our defenses do not protect us, they hinder us. Growth and transformation occur when we discover the necessity of laying down defenses and relaxing into the peace that comes from refusing fantasy living. I’m reminded of these verses:
19 “This is the basis for judgment: The light came into the world, and people loved darkness more than the light, for their actions are evil. 20 All who do wicked things hate the light and don’t come to the light for fear that their actions will be exposed to the light. John 3:19-20, CEB
The basis for judgment is not goodness or perfection but willingness to be exposed to “light”. We fear coming to the light but this is ironic because it’s exposure to light that gives us life. Because of this, we must be aware of two dynamics when it comes to our relationship to God.
- Living in the light implies we must live in reality (as we’ve discussed ad nauseum).
In John’s metaphor, Jesus represents light. In other words, his life, death, and resurrection make reality (or “truth”) more clear to us. This truth is that God loves us and desires to save us and so sends his son to rescue us from ourselves. Jesus’ life represents God’s hope for humanity. It’s a life of love, grace, and mercy which is ultimately defined by his refusal to defend himself. Living in the light is ultimately about being willing to adopt God’s principles and values as our own. Part of this, of course, is willing to have the truth of ourselves be exposed.
- Living in shame is as inappropriate a response to reality as denial is
We’ll unpack this second statement tomorrow.