My parents took a once in a lifetime visit to Greece while I was just a child. While visiting the small village of Davia where my grandfather grew up, they commented that they saw very few basements. Relatives explained that people are hesitant to excavate because it might turn up artifacts, which could warrant a life and home-disruptive archeological dig. The excitement of finding an ancient treasure was overwhelmed by the fear of what it could mean for their well-being.
In contrast, Step 4 recognizes that full moral recovery requires fearless and careful digging into the sensitive sediment of our lives. The purpose is to unearth the events and decisions that make up the moral underpinnings of our life until we can see the very foundation stones of who we are. The action required in Step 4 is to write a searching and fearless moral inventory of your life.
This is called the “Truth” step: finding the truth of who we really are.
The purpose of Step 4 is not to increase our shame, though we will likely find things we are ashamed of. It is to invite the Lord, the master builder to inspect our foundation so that when we find cracks and imperfections we can’t fix (and none of us can alone), we will have His reassurance that He can. Done correctly, a moral inventory will show us not only a moral failings, but also victories through a pattern of tender mercies.
I once had a dream where my home needed some reconstruction. A son began digging under an existing room to a depth that would create a whole new basement room. Floorboards were torn up in the process exposing warped wood and poor plumbing. I was surprised to see parents, church members, friends, family and my bishop become involved, giving surprising advice and adding their hands to the labor. My somewhat passable house was quickly becoming a beautiful, strong, regulated structure.
Don’t be surprised that if you turn your life over to the Savior, that He will not just apply wallpaper to cover over your sins. He is able to completely remove them and change our very heart. To those of you who say, like I did, “I have faith in God, that he has all power and can make me clean, but I don’t have faith in me.” I tell you that you are a son or daughter of God and he did not send you here to fail.
Take this step. You will know the truth of that statement and the truth will set you free.