A friend called recently, excited to share “something” with me. She texted ahead of time to make sure we could schedule and reserve space in our schedules. After talking niceties about the weather and our families, she took an audibly deep breath and then asked if I was ready to listen to the reason she called. Then, she shared a secret she had kept since her teen years and for the fifteen years of our friendship.
As she shared, she paused at times to cry. It was a necessary release for the way this double-edged sword sliced her: joy for for the newfound freedoms she was finding and sadness for the pain of the weight she had carried alone for so many years. I listened closely and cried with empathy through the flood of memories and emotions. Mostly, though, I cried because I knew her brave revelation was exposing new life that for so long she had denied herself.
Satan tells us a lie that we should remain quiet; however, Jesus proclaims that the truth sets us free (John 8:32). He calls us to confess, to live authentically among believers and to allow Him to carry our burdens. He came to spare us from the slavery of our secrets!
Silence causes suffering.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from personal experience and from that of close friends, it’s that denying our demons doesn’t make them go away. The only movement in the silence is the growing stress that someone will discover our mystery when we least expect it. The agony and fear of being “found out” only makes our quietly kept secret even more burdensome. And the original pain is only exacerbated.
God doesn’t want this for us. For starters, He already knows everything. Nothing is hidden from Him, so we might as well confess what He sees. But there’s so much more to it than that. Confessing the truth to God and others around us eases the burden. God wants to forgive us and help us heal. He is faithful and eager to transform us into His likeness.
If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (1 John 1:8-9 NLT)
Even more, God uses the Church body and the people around us to help. Silence keeps us separated, but when we’re not quiet about our troubles, people can walk alongside us through the hard times. Whether it’s to therapeutic professionals, family, friends or even strangers, releasing the whole truth to others releases the weight of darkness, shame and isolation.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. (James 5:16 NLT)
Isolation leads to lies.
It’s interesting how secrets prey on us, our knowledge of what’s really true and our well-being. Like wolves, they seek to isolate, knowing it’s easier to take us down that way. When all alone, we’re unprotected and exposed. We need to know this, so we can be wise to this scheme, because the lies that are born out of isolation can be unbelievably deceptive.
Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. (Proverbs 18:1 ESV)
Regularly meeting with solid, faithful friends, revealing our hurts and struggles and allowing ourselves to be fully known helps others to encourage us and provide wise and truthful counsel for our lives.
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. (Ephesians 4:15-16 NLT)
Jesus brings us freedom.
More than anything, God wants us to know that He is here for us, and He can handle the truth and help us in our time of need!
The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. (Psalm 34:17)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Not only does His power come to our aid, but so does His comfort. For me, this is the best part of walking openly and honestly through difficult times. Confessing invites God to help, talking about it brings others into the journey and speaking about God’s provisions gives us opportunities to use our experiences to help others. He redeems our hurts, because that’s just what a Redeemer does.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
May we not be quiet, but instead, go tell it on the mountain! Jesus Christ is Lord, and He loves us so much.
Father, God, give us courage to speak up and to not keep secrets that could cause damage in our lives. Help us, as well, to be a soft landing place for others to confess hurts. Let Your words be in our hearts and on our lips as we restore those in our path. Thank you for being the perfect model of unconditional love. Help us to be more like you. Free us from the slavery of our secrets. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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