April 5, 2011

Don't Keep It a Secret

This is Part 5 in the series, "Secrets". If you're just joining us, make sure and start with Part 1, "No More Secrets". Thanks for joining the conversation!

This weekend I received an email from someone who's been reading this series on Secrets - and it's apparently struck a nerve. She asked a question...and you can almost hear the heartbreak in her voice. She wrote:

"What if you did have the courage to tell someone your secret? Someone who told you that they cared about you, and loved you more than anything? That nothing could change that? And then after you told them, they couldn't even stand to be in your life anymore? I guess my question is: How can you move on from this kind of hurt? How can you move on after trusting that God was putting it on your heart to be honest and that everything would work out in the end - and so you do it, because you're trusting, and hoping and praying, but in the end, you're alone now, and everything is definitely not OK? After being HONEST. After TRUSTING God with everything you have inside of you? It makes you question everything."

So, what if you finally have the courage to lay the truth on the table - to bear your soul or confess your sin - and it turns out to be too much for someone to handle? What do you do? How can this happen? If someone says, "Whatever it is, I can take it"...and it turns out to be more than they can take...? As my friend asked, "How can you move on from that kind of hurt?" These are not easy questions - to ask or answer. In fact, I stared at the email for 3-4 days before I could even respond. But I did respond, and I felt that I should let you know what I said and what I think. This is what I wrote:

Thanks so much for trusting me with this question. It's not an easy one. 
I don't know the specifics of your situation, but I do know that there are times - and I've walked through them myself - where the unquestionable right thing to do was for me to tell the truth, be honest, come clean, and make sure that nothing was being swept under the rug or glossed over. And even though we've been brutally honest, the consequences still remain.
Again, not only do I not know the specifics of your situation, I don't know the person who walked away and isn't in "your life anymore". But I do know that sometimes people have no idea how they will react or respond to something until it actually becomes a reality. This doesn't make it right or easier, but it seems to be the way we are at times. Quite frankly, this is why millions of people who said "'til death do us part" are no longer married.
A couple of things I do know for certain: 1) Jesus is always trustworthy & 2) we aren't. We mess up. We fail each other. But I'm grateful that for every time someone in my life has failed me, turned their back and walked away, many others have stood by me and loved me. I'm praying that the Lord is placing people like this in your life - that you have a church family filled with grace-filled, loving Christ-followers.

I'm very aware that every word I wrote is much easier to write than it is to read. It's easier to say than it is to hear. But it's the truth. Just because we're honest - just because we finally have the guts to drag the dirty, molding, rotting laundry out of the closet and once and for all air it out - it doesn't mean that the consequences or going to go away. Reality doesn't say, "Oh, you were finally honest. You get a FREE PASS!" Grace and forgiveness? Yes. An exemption from picking up the pieces of the aftermath and destruction that can be left in the wake of our decisions and mistakes and (S)ins? No. 

What sparked this whole series to begin with is the fact that just 2 weeks ago another pastor's SECRET was revealed. I don't know if he independently, through the conviction of the Holy Spirit, drug it out into the open...or whether or not it was forced out by an individual or circumstance. While I do know that he has been set free from living a lie, and he (and his family) can hopefully begin to walk a path of healing and restoration, the consequences still remain. There's a wife whose heart has been ripped from her chest. There's another husband who feels betrayed and manipulated and humiliated. There are children who have to attempt to understand why Daddy doesn't have his job anymore and Mommy's crying all the time. And you may read all of this and think, "Well heck, why even bother? I'd be better off just keeping it to myself!" At the end of the day, if that's what you think, all I know to tell you is that you just don't grasp what being a follower of Christ is all about. PURITY trumps PASSION. HONESTY & INTEGRITY always outweigh MANIPULATION & DECEIT. And HOLINESS - the hunger and desire and calling on our lives to be more like Christ - is the thing we pursue at all costs! And this will at times mean secrets can no longer remain secret. And consequences will show up at our door. And sometimes - even when we may not deserve it - people will walk away. People we love, who we thought loved us. They will pack their things and go.

But God never will.

Before I close the lid on this allow me to say (and this is no secret) that God's Word is the final authority on this subject. I encourage you to take some time and go deeper with Him. Only He can comfort and convict. Only He holds the truth. He IS the truth! Don't keep it a secret.

Dig Deeper:
Psalm 51:6
Galatians 6:1-3
James 5:16
1 John 1:9
Matthew 18:15-18
Proverbs 12:19, 19:1, 20:7

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