Regarding step four, there are some similarities that apply to addictions, codependency and trauma that will help bridge the gap of understanding. All human beings experience some degree of impairment from pride, fear, shame and resentment.
These toxic emotions should be targeted in a 4th step due to their harmful effects on relationships. These insidious emotions block the Holy Spirit from operating fully in our lives. Discussing this blockage of the Holy Spirit is an excellent topic to start the group discussion. We all have a sin nature that needs to be addressed.
Step 4 – Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
As you complete the 4th step inventory, we will focus on how fear, shame and pride cause resentment to fester which creates division in our relationships. Closely examine these circumstances below and see how they apply to your life, then determine which negative emotion was driving your decisions and actions?
Every time we failed to set limits.
· We became slaves to our fear and guilt which impedes our ability to set limits.
· For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (Galatians, 5:13, ESV)
Every time we held onto unhealthy relationships.
· Rescuing and/or caretaking causes us to hold onto unhealthy relationships due to our need to be needed.
· Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians, 6:14, ESV)
Every time we said nothing in disagreement, so we did not upset other people.
· Many of us have a fear of not being liked or abandoned which creates people pleasing behaviors.
· Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, (Ephesians, 4:15, ESV)
Every time we allowed resentments to fester in our hearts, rather than speaking the truth.
· Resentments are sometimes a result of not communicating assertively, instead we wait until we explode in anger or act out passive aggressively.
· And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matthew, 6:12-13, ESV)
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