Cleaning the Inside
Luke 11:39-44

We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

We often protect ourselves by focusing our attention on other people and their behaviors. That way we don't have to examine our own. We often stay in relationships where we seem powerless, for in doing so, we maintain built-in excuses for failure. We may also spend time looking down on others who are "worse" than we are, thus avoiding an examination of our own corruption. But in doing these things, we fail to take responsibility for our own recovery by honest self-examination.

Jesus confronted the Pharisees, saying, "You Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy-full of greed and wickedness!" (Luke 11:39). Can you imagine polishing the outside of a cup, which is moldy on the inside, and then drinking from it? Of course not! But we do this in a spiritual sense because it's hard to deal with the "filth" inside our hearts.

Step Five is all about cleaning the inside of our cup. We must begin by turning our eyes away from everyone else around us. This may include those we blame for our condition in life or those we condemn to make our wrongs seem less in comparison. Then we can get back to looking within ourselves. Every one of us has some residue of wrongdoing in our lives. When we admit this to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, we will experience the cleansing of humility and forgiveness. Then we'll have lives that can bring refreshment to others.

Our recovery not only requires that we look inward; it also demands that we confess what we find inside.