Part 3 in the series, "Secrets".
There are conversations we need to have that never take place. They swirl around in our head - like we're rehearsing them for an act in a play. But the problem is they stay there, camped out in our heart and mind, growing stale and infected. And the ultimate reason this takes place - the one we can hold responsible for this horrific decision - is ourselves. Our PRIDE. And let's make one thing clear: When there's a conversation that desperately needs to take place in your life - when there are words that need to be said - and they never see the light of day....that's what we call a SECRET. And this kind of secret will begin to rot inside your heart.
Secrets are why someone's marriage will end today. In fact, it's ending right now, while you're reading this. A wife is hurt because her husband has fallen into a pattern of coming home from work, falling into his chair, and like some entitled prince (or heartless sloth), he forgets that his wife and children need him more than his coworkers and his employer. But she doesn't have the courage to say, "Honey, I know you work hard every day. I appreciate it! But when you come home most days, I feel like you don't really want to be here. I NEED you!" And there's a husband who gets in bed every night in agony, wondering why his wife faces the other way - wondering if she even finds him remotely attractive anymore. He's crushed. Quite frankly, he's growing frustrated. But he climbs in bed, waits for a response that doesn't come, and rolls over to continue drowning in his pool of unspoken wounds. WHY? Why do these conversations never take place? Why do they remain there, in SECRET? Simple answer: PRIDE.
Something inside us has learned, accepted, and now cultivated into perfection this culture of WINNING. We can't simply say, "I'm sorry", because that would mean surrendering the victory. We won't even begin to consider uttering those words because they would imply that we were WRONG. God forbid! And to go along with this self-inflicted burden of checking one more off in the WIN column, we also refuse to allow the other person to know that we're hurt. Wounded. We don't want anyone to know that they've somehow penetrated our armor. That there's a possibility of a weakness in our defenses. And while all of this sounds ridiculous, juvenile, and petty...physically-grown adults play this game all day long. Marriages DIE over it! Teams go from winning to losing because of it. Companies are destroyed and go bankrupt because this seed is planted, watered, and ultimately grows into an uncontrollable beast. And what seemingly smart, intelligent, creative, sensitive, decent people don't seem to realize is that when WINNING is your goal in life, every body loses. Including you.
Secrets. As I alluded to a second ago, they're a simple seed. They don't start out as bitterness or resentment or deceit or heart-crushing, agonizing grief. But when they're planted - and especially watered - with time, they don't just grow. They grow out of control! And that's why I plead with you: Do NOT even allow them to penetrate the soil in your soul! Go to war against them! And understand that the greatest weapon you have at your disposal to destroy this disease before it ever gets planted...is HUMILITY. There's a reason why James says, "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God and He will lift you up," and then immediately follows it up with, "...casting all your cares on Him, because He cares for you!" Humility is WORK. It's WAR! It's a battle of the Spirit of God inside us against the selfish nature of our flesh. And it's a war that we must fight! But when WE fight for humility in our lives, HE fights for us! James 4:6 reminds us that God "gives more grace. Therefore it says, 'God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble'. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." When we stare our PRIDE straight in the face - see it for what it truly is - and refuse to allow it to have it's way in our lives - and when we allow the humility of Christ (Philippians 2:1-11) to reign in us and through us - the Creator, Redeemer, and Great Provider opens the floodgates...and allows every ounce of strength, comfort, courage, and peace we need to pour out on us like a raging river. Just make sure you hear this loud and clear: There is WORK to be done. And often, truly WINNING this war - claiming this victory in your life and relationships - will come in the form of SURRENDER. And this goes against all human logic. But when has God ever been about succumbing to our logic? [HINT: Never.]
Once we begin allowing the truth to see daylight - if we honestly cry out to God as David did to "Search us...know us...test us...and point out ANYTHING in our lives and our hearts that would be keeping us from truth and purity and holiness" (Psalm 139:23-23, paraphrase mine) - once we allow even ONE SECRET to be made known - we'll begin to have the eyes and hearts capable and ready of realizing that EVEN MORE SECRETS are buried there...eating away at us...killing our soul...feeding our PRIDE. And again, hopefully like David, we will see that our Redeemer desires "truth in the innermost parts - honesty from the heart - so He can teach me to be wise in my inmost being." (Psalm 51:6) The truth sets us free. Secrets enslave us. I encourage you today to choose to be FREE!