STEP SIX CONTINUED: Take inventory of ourselves to discover any way in which we have hurt, disappointed, or abused anyone by our religious beliefs.
Instruction: Consider inflicted hurts.
When we look at ways we have hurt other people, some in the name of religion and some through our mistakes and failures, we see a more serious side of what Step Six is bringing to light. One way to begin this process is to look at the religious and nonreligious hurts that have happened to us. We consider our personal hurts first, because we understand that we could be prone to do unto others what has been done to us. Abused individuals, unfortunately, sometimes become abusers. What we are considering here are ways in which we have passed onto others our own pain and suffering. Our shortcomings can often be a roadmap to finding ways in which we play it forward.
We consider these hurts as dispassionately as possible. Guilt and shame are not tools that prove to be the most effective in our healing process. Knowing we have been hurt and that we in turn have inadvertently or even willfully hurt others is all that is needed. The expression “judge not, that you be not judged” is simply a reminder that we are all fallible and capable of great hurt or great love, and that all too often we have not chosen love. To remedy this, we look first to the times and situations in which we wish we could rewrite the past. The times in which we played the villain instead of the hero. The times when we failed to stand in the gap for those who needed someone to help them and not to judge them. And, more to the point of this program, the times when we allowed religious rules, regulations, and strictures to dictate our response instead of allowing love to rule our actions and reactions.
For today’s instruction, recognize ways in which you might have passed hurts, pains, or abuses onto someone else. If this is an ongoing process, you will want to recognize it and work toward ending it as soon as possible. Be gentle with yourself and avoid being overly judgmental or condemning of your actions. Forgive yourself, and move on as quickly as you can.
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Our purpose is to help individuals to heal who have been injured by religion or the religious. We welcome your comments and questions.