“Continued to take personal inventory
and when we were wrong promptly admitted it”
Who likes to be wrong? Nobody. Who is never wrong? Nobody! Who “promptly admits” when they are wrong? In my experience – very few people.
I met one recently. It was incredibly refreshing to see Step Ten in action! Please allow me to share the experience:
My honey and I were dinner guests. The table conversation was pleasant as we reminisced and chatted about people we knew in common. Subtly the mood shifted when one of our friends began speaking of another in a manner that lacked the seasoning of grace. I listened for several minutes before the topic turned a corner, wondering if those same words would have been spoken had our mutual friend been present at the table.
Before dessert was served, I had a pleasant surprise! Our host humbly admitted the unfairness of her words and apologized for speaking them aloud in our presence. What a rare treat! That piece of humble pie tasted sweeter to me than any dessert!
I had just witnessed Step Ten.
Step Ten has two components: Taking a continual personal inventory and promptly admitting when we mess up. Both of these work best when accompanied by the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
When we are in the spiral of addiction or are the “co-addict” or co-dependent trying to control the aftermath of a loved one’s out of control behavior, we become little gods of our own lives, often forgetting that we have a God who is more than happy to take the wheel and steer us onto a better life path. We ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit, choosing, rather, to rely upon our own strength. This gets us nowhere.
When we discover Step 1, that our life is out of control and unmanageable, and we learn to submit to the Highest Power of all – God, something begins to change inside our hearts and we learn to listen to His voice above all others. Slowly, slowly, our lives become more manageable and peaceful. This can be a dangerous place to be, because this is where complacency creeps up on us and causes us to forget what we’ve been through and Who brought us out of the depths.
Keith Miller, in A Hunger for Healing (p. 164) suggests that in our daily inventories, we must ask ourselves questions like, “Which of my character defects popped up as uninvited guests today? Am I using the tools of the program? Am I praying? Am I thanking God for all the good things he has done for me this day, and for any positive things he’s freed me to do?”
He says, “The reason this is so important is that the Sin-disease, with its denial and delusion, is always hovering “just a decision away” to throw us back into fear and confusion. Its tactics are to convince us in various ways, “You’re ‘well’ now and don’t need a stupid program to lead a normal life. You can and should operate on your own as a mature adult.” The disease’s “strategy” often works like this: When we begin to feel a little secure and happy and our relationships are more comfortable, many of us “forget” to have our quiet time. We forget to go to meetings and don’t call our sponsor. We’re busy again, because the pain that drove us into the program has been alleviated. This is a dangerous place to be, because it is one of the major delusions of the spiritual life that we can “do it ourselves” without daily contact with God and a daily look at the reality of what is going on in our own lives.”
The Bible, in 1 Corinthians 10:12 (NIV), warns us about this:
“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.”
But God doesn’t stop there, He also promises to make a way of escape so that we don’t have to fall back into our old patterns of behavior: “And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (verse 13)
It’s great to know that God provides a way of escape BEFORE we fall into the temptation. Taking that route would definitely be “Plan A.” But it’s also important to be aware of the fact that none of us is perfect, and we will make mistakes. We may even chew up a friend in conversation now and then. When we do, “Plan B” is Step Ten – humbly allowing the Holy Spirit to make us aware of our error, and taking immediate action to admit our wrong and make it right.
Father in heaven, thank You for loving human beings so much that You not only gave us Your Son, but You promise to give us Your Spirit, as well. Give me ears today, to hear that quiet Voice that says, “Caution! You are moving in a direction that leads to pain and sorrow. Here’s your chance to make it right.” Please help me to take an honest inventory today and to right what is wrong in my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.