A Fearless Moral Inventory

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“He wanted her to move out of the lie, into authenticity, but first she had to admit to how she was living her life. People in recovery would call it taking a thorough and fearless moral inventory and then sharing that with another person. Jesus offered himself as a loving listener, a no-judging ear He invited her to come clean. His invitation was a call to a new life,” Anne Lamott, Hallelujah Anyway*

Every couple of months, I must take a fearless moral inventory of my character. If I don’t, I tend to slip into gossip and judgment, anger and jealousy, quarreling and blame, and other low-level thoughts. These thoughts lead to actions which directly oppose my calling from Christ – my servanthood here on earth.

When I don’t stop and look inside, I become insular and isolated, like a glacier on a river. I forget the vastness of my foundation. I am blinded to the light above me and within me. I only see what is above the surface and begin to believe this is the total of myself. But that would be a lie.

Just as my arm is not a separate entity from my body and cannot exist separately from my brain or heart or nerves, I cannot exist separately from Christ who is my Heart, from my Father who is my Foundation and Shelter, or from my Spirit who is my Guide and Wisdom in all things.

I told you this clearly before, and I only tell you again so there is no room for confusion: those who give in to these ways will not inherit the kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You won’t find any law opposed to fruit like this. (Galatians 5:21-23)

As I proceed with my personal, moral inventory, I take the focus off others and place it where it belongs: squarely on myself. I must be fearless and completely honest in doing so or the inventory has no value. I must look at the darkest side of myself and admit my own waywardness because doing so releases the chains and sets me free to step back onto the right path again.

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There is power in truth-telling. There is power in facing my demons. There is power in naming my mistakes. Because I am not my mistakes. And the enemy does not want me to know this about myself. So when I write down my thoughts, my feelings about my weaknesses, and my deepest love for my God, I am lifted up. When I purposely seek to pull the truth up from below the surface where I can see it, face it and allow God’s magnificent love to shatter it, I am broken, remade and transformed.

When I tell the truth, I become what God intends for me to be – His precious and beloved daughter. His servant who tells the world of His unconditional, expansive love and generous, lavish grace. But it does not occur without the sacrifice of the mirror. He gives without expectation, but to receive, we must stand before the glass and bleed.

 

*©2017 Anne Lamott, Hallelujah Anyway, Rediscovering Mercy, p.152, Riverhead Books, NY, NY

7 comments

  1. I like the challenge of making a moral inventory. The truth is only revealed in our willingness to embrace it.

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    1. I think you are right – it is in the “willingness to embrace it” His truth is revealed in and through us, as is His love and grace.

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  2. Amen Susan. Good word! That’s what authentically following Jesus looks like.

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    1. It’s not easy, Mel (Part 2 coming soon), but we must each face our demons, our weakness, our mistakes. First, because it’s what Christ expects of us. Second, because it’s how He transforms us daily.

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      1. Amen. We’re totally tracking here. It’s why I’ve been focusing on the Sermon on the Mount with my current series. Salvation is not a transaction that gives us a free ticket to heaven, but an invitation to be progressively transformed so we can be about our Father’s business.

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      2. “an invitation to be progressively transformed” – absolutely, Mel. It is certainly a progression, and I know as long as I abide in Him, the progression occurs (even though I may not be conscious of it while I’m in the wilderness.

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  3. Beautiful. Thank you for this wonderful reminder, especially to simply praise Hod for Who He is!

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