"You have searched me Lord and You know who I really am." Psalm 139:1
I heard Sheila Walsh say that we think keeping our secrets will make us safe, but all they really do is keep us isolated. Most especially do they keep us isolated from Him.
We all have secrets, things, events, actions, that we want to keep hidden. They're those things that we think, and the enemy so joyfully echoes to us, that if anyone knew them, they'd have nothing to do with us. The secrets we keep can, and usually do, carry deep pain. They can carry guilt, shame, and condemnation. They are an ever present heaviness upon our soul and spirit. No matter how hard we may try to escape them, their presence just gnaws at our soul, heart and mind. We want no one to find out about them, and go to great lengths, often destructive ones to keep it that way. We think we're keeping them safe, but as Walsh says, we only succeed in isolating ourselves, especially from Him with who there can be no secrets at all.
The pressure to keep our secrets only grows. We fear the possibility of anyone finding out, and so the guilt and shame that so often accompany them and have us in their grip only grows stronger. The secrets we keep aren't confined to what we've done, or may have had done to us. They also include thoughts, temptations, deep seated anger, even hatred. We carry these secrets everywhere.....including into our worship gatherings. We sing songs, join in prayers, and listen to the sermons, with our secrets in hand. And when we leave, our secrets go with us. We may have succeeded in keeping our secrets secret, but we've deepened our isolation from not only each other, but from the One we call Father.
As a pastor, I think I've come to realize that no one may be more adept at keeping secrets than we are. There's the ever present fear that if anyone found out about them, we'd be run off at the first opportunity. So we keep the secret about the true state of our marriages, families, and spiritual and emotional life from everyone....even Him. We throw ourselves into the work, and try to bury the problems ever deeper. And our soul and spirit dies a bit more each day. I know. I've been in that place....many times. It wasn't just that I wouldn't talk about any of the secrets with others, it was that I really wouldn't fully talk about them with Him. So I tried to handle it all in my own strength and understanding.....and failed. Badly. And that's always the end for us. The secrets we seek to keep will always find a way to show themselves in our lives....one way or another. Exhaustion. Burn out. Spiritual backsliding. The power of the secrets we keep is greater than our power and ability to keep them. They show up...in our jobs, relationships, ministries, and our journey with Him. And none of it need be so. In all of it, the One from who there can be no secrets, is all the while calling us to Him. Calling us, as Scripture says, to "Come back to Me and live."
He calls us to Himself. All of Himself, to come to Him with all that we are...failures, secrets, sins, and bring them all to the cross of Christ. At the cross we find healing, we find freedom. We find the One to who we can give all our secrets to, no matter how dark, and discover that He takes them away, yet never turns us away. Guilt, shame, fear, condemnation, they all lose their power in the face of the power of His blood....at the cross. He knows who we really are.....and loves us. Our secrets may have caused us to live very far from Him, but His call, no matter how far we may have gone is always, "Come back to Me and live." And we will, when we bring all of ourselves to all that He is.
Bring all the secrets to His secret place that only He can make known to you. The cross. His place of safety, healing, freedom....and life.