A secret is a terrible thing to bear.
Would not God find this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart.
– Psalm 44:21
There are myriad types of secrets. Some are trifles, only important to us. Others are life-shattering and may even have legal implications. If it’s a good secret, it’s hard to bear because we’re bursting to share it with others. Good news only gets better when it’s celebrated with a loved one or friend, right? Keeping it quiet is misery.
A dark secret can’t be shared, so there’s nobody to help relieve the guilt; no one with whom to share the crushing pain. There’s no heavier burden than carrying heartache alone. Sometimes the secret we carry is not for ourselves but for others.
Those are the worst.
We all have secrets of some magnitude. One researcher found 97% of people are keeping a secret at any given time. Most people carry an average of thirteen. We know how exhausting it is to live with the worry of having a part of us or someone we love exposed to others, of remaining silent when we want to speak.
Psychologists have known for some time about the effect that hiding secrets has on our emotional and physical well-being. Secrets are hard on both body and soul. Recent research has illuminated the emotional crisis further, finding that it’s not the work of keeping the secret as much as the living with the secret that ravages us.
As Michael Slepian writes in the Scientific American, confiding in a third party reduces emotional pain—not by lessening the need to keep the secret from others, but by reducing the amount of time spent wandering to that place in the mind and reliving it.
But sharing a secret with another is fraught with danger. It takes great wisdom to know when our peace of mind is worth the possible destruction of another’s life. It’s possible to lose a friendship or destroy entire relationships with an ill-timed revelation. Relieving our minds at the expense of another’s well-being is both unhealthy and narcissistic.
There is better way.
God already knows our darkest secrets.
“Can a man hide himself in hiding places
So I do not see him?” declares the LORD.
“Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD.
– Jeremiah 23:24
You have placed our iniquities before You,
Our secret sins in the light of Your presence.
– Psalm 90:8
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
– Proverbs 28:13
But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.
– Luke 12:2
God already knows everything about us. We have no chance of impressing Him with outward appearances. We can’t keep our secrets behind closed doors, because no door can stay shut to His eyes.
He knows the secrets that are killing us, and they’ve never stopped Him from loving us. If the secret is a sin, it already killed Him. That’s why He came to Earth. He came to ransom us from the sins holding us hostage and keeping us from receiving the gift of life. The price we owed for sin was death. Christ paid that great cost for us. No secret is too dirty for God. Christ already bled to pay the judgment and free us from those spiritual chains.
For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
– John 3:17
Why dwell in darkness when the light is so near?
Freedom is as close as the floor. Or a chair, or a park bench. Wherever we are, we can open the door and ask the Spirit of God to cleanse the rooms of our hearts. When we talk to Him and tell Him what hurts, confessing our sins and our secrets, He will make us new.
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight.
– Psalm 51:1-4
Intrigued? Do you yearn to climb from the pit of the Accuser into freedom?
God’s Word gives us everything we need to understand what sin does to our lives and how the sacrifice of Jesus Christ can redeem us. The book of John in the New Testament is a good place to start. Find a ministry, church, or another believer we trust to help us begin our new lives in the light.
We’re not meant to take this journey alone.
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