Overcoming Denial

Genesis 38

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

Admitting our wrongs to ourselves can be the most difficult part of Step Five. Denial can be blinding! How can we be expected to admit to ourselves those things we are blind to? Here's a clue that can help us. We will often condemn in others the wrongs most deeply hidden within ourselves.

According to ancient Jewish law, a widow was entitled to marry the surviving brother of her husband in order to produce children. Tamar had been married successively to two brothers who died without giving her children. Her father-in-law, Judah, promised to give her his younger son also, but he never did. This left her alone and destitute. In an effort to protect herself, she disguised herself as a prostitute and became pregnant by Judah himself. And she kept his identification seal (Genesis 38:1-23).

When Judah heard that Tamar was pregnant and unmarried, he demanded her execution. "But as they were taking her out to kill her, she sent this message to her father-in-law: 'The man who owns these things made me pregnant. . . . Whose seal and cord and walking stick are these?' Judah recognized them immediately and said, 'She is more righteous than I am'" (Genesis 38:25-26).

It won't be easy to be honest with ourselves. "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9). However, we can look at those things we condemn in others as a clue to what may be lurking within ourselves.

It takes great courage to be honest with ourselves about ourselves.


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Taken from The Life Recovery Devotional: Thirty Meditations from Scripture for Each Step in Recovery by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Copyright © 1991 by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.