We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Many of us live two lives, one ruled by our addictions and passions, the other governed by the laws of religion or social respectability. We probably know the pain of living in both worlds and the fear of being found out.
During a period of peace and prosperity, Israel's upper class was living in luxury. Much of their wealth, however, was gained by exploiting the poor. They violated God's laws and worshiped idols, while still keeping up their "proper" religious duties. God said to them, "I hate all your show and pretense-the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won't even notice all your choice peace offerings. . . . I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living" (Amos 5:21-22, 24).
God sees through the external images we present and looks upon the heart. He understands the pain and bondage of living in hiding; he hates the pretending. Step Five is the time to face our hypocrisy. We need to stop trying to make up for the darkness inside by going overboard with religious displays. Let's stop singing louder to drown out the cry of our guilty conscience. We need to let God's justice convict us of every sin and let Jesus' blood cover it. Then we'll be able to honestly sing praises, move toward a whole, integrated life, and be free from pretending.
God wants us to have honest hearts, willing to show others who we really are.