We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Those of us in recovery all struggle to move out of a difficult past and into a healthier future. We can't change our past, yet it's hard to accept the truth about it. It's hard to face the things that others have done to us and all the mistakes we have made. Our energy can easily be spent trying to rewrite the past, a task at which we can never succeed. In Step Four we are simply trying to honestly evaluate our lives, including everything in our past.
Jesus said, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32). The path to freedom always leads through the truth, even the truth about our past. The apostle Paul once wrote to young Timothy: "Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm, but the Lord will judge him" (2 Timothy 4:14). Paul states the truth about someone who had hurt him but leaves the matter in God's hands. We, too, should honestly accept what has been done to us and then let it go, leaving it in God's hands.
Elsewhere, Paul examined his past, making an honest review of his earthly accomplishments, his wrongs, his mistakes, his family, his gains, and his losses. It was from this broad perspective that he could write these words: "I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me" (Philippians 3:12). When we face the truth about our past, we can finally let go of it. Then we can journey on into a healthier future.
We can be fearless in our inventory, knowing that the truth can only set us free.