It is best to take step 5 as soon as possible after completing step 4, postponing it would be like acknowledging an infected wound without cleaning it, just letting it fester. Step 5 can be overwhelming, but if we continue to practice Step 3 (Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.) we can ask the Lord for courage and strength. And I will tell you, you will probably need it because if you didn’t have humility before, you will after this step. But you will also have relief, like a weight has been lifted.
We are our actions and by admitting our exact nature by completing Step 5 we demonstrate before God, ourselves and another human being our commitment to a new life based firmly on telling and living the truth. Proving we don’t want to be the person we used to be, we want better for ourselves and our loved ones.
As I mentioned before, when we have conflict with others in our lives (cheating spouse, mean boss, rebellious child) we are powerless over them and their actions but not ours. The only thing we can do is change ourselves and how we react to their treatment of us. Step 5 is the first step in actually taking outward action to do that.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Confession is good for the soul”. Scripture tells us: 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…..James 5:16 - Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much…..Acts 19:18 - And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.
Confession is not only to show we acknowledge our wrong doings but it is also to unburden us of the guilt we feel from that wrong doing. The Lord will forgive us as many times as we ask (with the exception of the two unforgivable sins, of course). Once we have confessed to our Lord, so he is able to forgive us, we will have a greater ability to forgive others.
When choosing a person to confess your inventory to, be very positive he/she is a person that is open minded, someone you can trust not to blab to other people nor throw what you confess up in your face later down the road. I made that mistake once! Reading our moral inventory we have a chance to see our lives unfold. As we do, we may recognize patterns of weaknesses that have influenced our choices. Hopefully we can start to understand these patterns and our tendencies toward negative thoughts and emotions (fear, pride, self-pity, jealousy, self-righteousness, anger, resentment, out of control desires, etc). These thoughts and emotions are truly our exact nature. Being objective, the person who listens to our inventory can help us see areas of self-deception. They can help us put our lives into perspective and avoid exaggerating or minimizing our accountability. The person you confess to will realize how much you trust them and in return, they will trust you more, therefore forging a bond rarely found elsewhere that will last a lifetime.
Remember to practice Step 3 if you are feeling anxious about completing this step.