We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
The heart of our moral inventory will probably deal with our destructive habits, defects of character, the wrongs we've done, the consequences that we now live with, and the hurt we've caused others. It's like sifting through all the garbage. This part is painful, but a necessary part of throwing away those rotten habits and behaviors that are spoiling the rest of our lives.
The returned Jewish exiles "confessed their own sins" (Nehemiah 9:2); this phrase speaks volumes. The word confess means "to bemoan something by wringing of the hands" and also "to throw away." The word sins means "offenses and their occasions"; it can also refer to habitual sinfulness and the consequences of such behavior.
This can serve as a model for us to follow. We can list the occasions of our offenses, our destructive habits, and the consequences we've brought into our lives and the lives of others. Let's also look at what was done as they "confessed their own sins." They owned each part; they bemoaned each part; and then they threw it all away. Their inventory was a time of cleaning out the garbage. After this they were better able to make a new start.
In dealing with the garbage in our lives we can "own" it by taking personal responsibility for our choices and actions. We can "bemoan" it by allowing ourselves to grieve. We can "throw it away" by leaving it behind and turning toward the future.
Our time of confession should be a time of celebration.