I received an email yesterday that has me a bit discouraged. Without going into detail, I will say that this path God has me on is difficult. I love sharing Jesus with people. I enjoy communicating about His healing. I love being an advocate for women.
But, I have been convicted about a secret I held for someone I loved, for way too many years. When he shared the secret with me, I was not educated on the subject and didn’t take the necessary precautions I should have. I watched this secret put a wedge between us for years. We as of a couple years ago are no longer together, I think this secret was a big part of our downfall and divorce and lack of trust. Now I deal with the ramifications, that, maybe I could have done something to change his heart long ago. This secret has left me with powerful feelings of fear and shame.
The Bible say’s “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matt 10:26-28
We may harbor secrets because we think the truth about a single evil past act or a continuing bad habit is too shameful to tell, or we may keep our secrets hidden because we don’t want to risk losing our friends. Either way, we remain alone, isolated, and desperate to stay hidden.
My own choices to keep this secret has caused me a lot of pain and confusion for years. I have shed many tears on how I could done things differently. I am ashamed that I did not make a bigger deal of it when he shared. I truly thought he had changed had genuine sorrow and that it was a thing of the past…well..it wasn’t.
I have found that Sin grows with secrets..“As Iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:7. Did I fail at this. Because at the end of our marriage this secret came crashing back. He had not change one bit. He was still stuck in this sinful past.
Our sinful nature always desires more. When you get away with something in secret, the deceitful nature of sin will convince you that it’s a reason to keep going. Eventually, you find yourself somewhere you don’t want to be, and there are only painful ways out.
What I realize now is, that darkness causes sin and pain to grow, the light brings redemption. In keeping this secret, I allowed darkness to grow. I also did a disservice to him for keeping it hidden. Some secrets bring much greater destruction into our lives than if they were revealed.
The truth is: this secret costs me a lot. My marriage…and that’s okay because perhaps it is my cross I bear. I just wish I could have had the joy of seeing him find healing and freedom which would have trumped all this angst. But now, I am ready to close the door on this: I need to close the door on my expectations. My expectation that he would really change his heart and be a new man.
Revealing this kind of secret can be a painful and a fearful experience. However, I realize now that it opens up new opportunities to experience God’s healing. But ignoring sin is never the solution. Never. We cannot allow ourselves to be deceived into thinking that we can sin “safely.”
Even among Christians it can be a real struggle to find the balance in when to keep a secret and when to reveal a secret sin-whether it is your sin, or your friend’s sin or your husbands sin.
It gets even more complicated for some Christians. Even if you have confessed your sins to Jesus, which sins should you reveal to others?
One young man who had been married for about a year revealed to his wife that he had been struggling with pornography. He thought this honesty would help their marriage. But his wife was so devastated by this admission, that her distrust of him grew to the point that she divorced him.
So should he have kept this secret from his wife? Would they still be married if he had said nothing to her? There are no simple answers to these complex questions.
God clearly reveals what lies in our future. “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” (Luke 8:17) We can’t hide our sins forever.
The power of shame can cause us to give far too much power to our failures of the past. You can begin to believe the lie that “if others know about my failures, they won’t like me. They won’t trust me.” So we put up walls to hide our secrets, and live in fear of what will happen if others really know the truth about me.
Jesus states clearly that His arms are wide open for you. He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 )
You can’t keep any secrets from God. No matter what you have done, He still loves you. Learning to live in the light of His truth will put you on the path to healthy living and peace in your heart.
The problem comes when we seem to be left in the dark. God often does not give us His 5 year plan for our future. He wants us to learn what it means to walk by faith-taking one step at a time, and putting our trust in Him that He knows what is best.
This faith walk goes against our natural desire to be in control. Surrendering control makes us feel vulnerable.
When we allow God to be in control, we open the door to a new level of freedom in our lives. You can have the confidence that He has your best as His top priority.
Since only God knows all the future, it’s a great choice to give Him full control.
If someone came to me today, with this same secret I would point them to a male counselor/pastor and probably would have distanced myself from him. I am not sure, although I know I was wrong in the way I handled it. I pray the Lord forgives me.
When the people closest to us sins, it hurts. Sin is destructive. When we are standing close by, we often get hit with shrapnel. My shrapnel was the secret.
The truth is, we all have a sin problem. That’s why we need Jesus so much. But if someone you love is trapped in a pattern of sin, or refuses to repent from sin the stakes can seem sky high. When I don’t know what to pray, I pray God’s Word.
But your iniquities have separated
you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
so that he will not hear. Isaiah 59:2
I pray for them to see their sin as God sees it.
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 26:36
I pray that their heart will be soften.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
Pray the word changes their heart.
God is in the business of dealing with sin. There is no sin too big for Him to forgive and no sinner too far for God to take them back. As you wait for Him to do the miraculous redemptive work only He can do, keep praying with great expectation.
Do you know someone stuck in a pattern of sin? Which of these prayers will you start praying on their behalf?