Step 4, “made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves”,
as I search myself, I need to have my higher power gift me with their ability to step into, to re-step, to step again, ( or perhaps step for the first time? ) …
… into myself, into my own selves again
empathic, empathy, I step
at a meeting I recently heard someone quote a slogan, ‘ why is not a spiritual question for my spiritual program’
Or, ‘ why ask why?’
in truth this type of quoting is reductive; by de-valuing questions, like why’s? or what does it mean? I live on a surfscr
a real question:
is it true? Is my question true?
if I search fearlessly, staying with my quest, not slaving toward an ‘answer’ then
there are no poor questions; no whys
Luke, in this closing of Acts, writes of one central, one essential quality, kindness.
The centurion Julius is kind to Paul as they begin to sail to Rome. And this kindness leads to Julius’ saving of Paul’s and all the other prisoners’ lives as they shipwreck.
And now Lune sees the islanders of Malta’s love, their kindness….
28 ‘Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. 3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.’
Kindness is love’s conduct. It’s how love behaves. These two words are sometimes put together. For example, Psalm 18: 35 NKJ talks of how the Lord’s ‘gentleness’ or ‘stooping’ makes us great. Our Lord loves us and expresses his love kindly, in kindness.
What then is kindness? Well, it’s sometimes referred to as ‘lovingkindness’. John Murray tells us that kindness is, ‘loving kindness, the dispensing of favour.’
Julius and Malta’s islanders; act kindly. Just as our Jesus, daily does on life.
before I start writing my fourth step, my prayer…
Let me step out of the formless and empty abyss,
Into the fullness of a new and happy beginning.
the text below is from a friend, Karl, after a prayer time on the biblical figure of Joseph. the Fred Rogers quote that appears first is my thought on how Step 4 should begin, with a view to self …
“Forgiveness is a strange thing. It can sometimes be easier to forgive our enemies than our friends. It can be hardest of all to forgive people we love. Like all of life’s important coping skills, the ability to forgive and the capacity to let go of resentments most likely take root very early in our lives.” Fred Rogers
and ourselves is the hardest one to forgive…
Genesis 45:5: ‘And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.’
You and I have seen this verse many times before…and often get Disney-fide to mean, “you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good”. Yes, but I heard it a couple days ago in a new light. “Do not be distressed or angry with yourselves” is REGRET. And we carry so much regret. I do. I mull it over whenever I get the chance. But God’s message is this: Don’t regret. I sent Joseph. I did it. And while you played a part, I REDEEMED IT.”
“…Let it go. I redeemed it. AND I paid for it.” Furthermore, the fact that regret wedges itself between God and me. It keeps me from him. It insults His redemptive and cleansing power. Who am I to tell God that “I have something to do”?
And when I read Gen 45:5, I thought of you and prayed for you. And I am sorry about your regrets, just as I am sorry about my own. And I weep with you, who are weeping.- Karl
One of my favourite all time movies is John Ford’s ‘The Searchers.’ A journey over years and seasons by two men in search of an abducted child results in an essential internal change for both characters, but especially for Ethan.
Ethan hates Native Americans and everything touched by them, even the abducted child, now a young woman. He desires to kill her thinking that this abused woman’s death will free his mind.
It won’t, as realises at the film’s end when he rescues and not kills; restores and carries Debbie back to her family.
Our fearless searching in step four, my journey as I write my inventory, is about letting this step take me where I want to and where I do not want to go.
Step 4 is about fearlessly searching.
Fourth Step Prayer
each day is a step, each step has its prayer Step 4 prayer..,
It is I who has made my life a mess.
I have done it, but I cannot undo it.
My mistakes are mine &
I will begin a searching & fearless moral inventory.
I will write down my wrongs
But I will also include that which is good.
I pray for the strength to complete the task.
Step 4, “made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves”,
searching & fearless is an intentional and continual deep conversation with myself.
‘Once we have placed the key of willingness in the lock and have the door ever so slightly open, we find that we can always open it some more. Though self – will may Salim it shut again, as it frequently does, (relapse?) it will always respond the moment we again pick up the key of willingness.’p. 35 the 12&12
Towards the end of Brian Di Palma’s film ‘The untouchables’ a character is dying and asks Elliot Ness”what are you wiling to do?”
All work, steps, begin with desire, focus and/or as stated here, willingness.
Self- will is not willingness. Self – will is self – esteem; self – power, or selfishness taken to its final extreme: worship of self, idolatry.
Self – will destroys. It destroys all others and all of one’s being, one’s self.
Self – will destroys.
from a friend,
I am welcoming Day 7 of, “A 90/90 Unconditional Self-acceptance Practice,” I am willing to make a lifetime living-amendment to my wounded soul and spirit for the harms that I had done for years while I was sick and suffering without knowing it. I do this by praying to A Higher Power
help me use the good and healthy side of my God-given emotions: “Good Anger, Good Guilt And Good Regret.” Experiencing good anger empowers me first to share it with members who understand, and to let those who hurt me know in a loving and kind way, and ask for fairness going forward. Good guilt empowers me to acknowledge my wrongdoing, apologize and do attitude adjustment, a better treatment going forward. Good regret empowers me to accept that I cannot change what happened in the past. But I can learn from what happened, and move on to start over, and move forward toward a better future. As I practice how to use good emotions, I am humbly asking A Higher Power to remove and arrest the untreated bad side of my emotions. Because the bad side of my emotions kept me stuck and frozen in many yesteryears, tormenting my soul and spirit with a never-ending bad anger and, bad guilt, and bad
regret poisoning my being with the untreated stinking-thinking of, “Wishing Things Were Different.” Choosing to dwell for too long, for years, in lingering bad anger and rage, and bad guilt, shame and remorse kept feeding the bad regret, and the bad regret kept feeding my insanity. Longtimers reminds us: “Bad Regrets Keeps Us Restless, Agitated, Irritated, Ungrateful For What We Have, And Insane.” And “Insanity Is What We Keep Getting For Wishing A Better Past.” Thanks to Amazing Grace! We do not have to live that way any more. We are given, “The Know-how,” and “A Way-up And Out.” Take care my friend and stay well. I love you. Happy to be alive, the rest is a bonus. Gratefully, Wassie