I carry secrets, lots of them. “Big deal,” right? Every heart harbors secrets that seem better left unsaid. But I carry other people’s secrets, too. It’s par for the course in this humbling journey called ministry. I counsel folks who need a safe place to say things they have never told another living soul. It truly is my honor to go to my grave with confidences held close throughout these decades.
Secrets are powerful. They have a way of holding us hostage. We assume others will view us differently if they discover particular pieces of our past and present. Additionally, bringing the skeletons out of our closets (yes, everyone has them!) forces us to deal with issues we would rather leave tucked securely away in the dark. We’ve lived long enough to know that pulling the scab off a wound starts the bleeding all over again.
Watching Jesus teaches us about the freedom that comes from bringing our issues into the light. Jesus traveled to an area no one dared to enter (John 4). He waited for this outcast with her secrets to come where He was. Before long, Jesus began reading this lady’s mail. But, with her history of horrible mistakes, she had grown accustomed to defending herself. When His words hit too close to home, she tried to change the subject to theological chitchat. With a stoic façade, the wounded woman threw up a religious smoke screen to ensure that her deepest needs remained buried, never to see the light of day.
Tragically, this mistress couldn’t discern that this encounter was altogether different from the others scarring her story. Jesus wasn’t exposing her mess to embarrass or humiliate her, but to heal her. He knew the thing that we must learn if we are to live in His freedom:
WE WILL NEVER CONQUER WHAT WE REFUSE TO CONFRONT!
When the woman stopped burying the secrets that continuously beat up her soul, ONLY THEN could she find the freedom she sought. ONLY WHEN she got honest about her situation could her hungry heart feel the embrace it craved. ONLY WHEN she came out of hiding did she discover that, while Jesus knew her secrets in detail, He still loved her in ultra-high definition.
Hell loves to keep you in knots with your secrets, the ones you feel like you can’t tell ANYONE! He holds them over your head to convince you to stay imprisoned in your guilt and shame. But hear me! There is NOTHING God can’t redeem. There is NOTHING God can’t heal in you. God safely holds the secrets you hope others never hold, and He’s already conquered what seeks to conquer you!
So, stop deflecting your pain by changing the conversation. Stop staying so busy that you don’t have time to think about it. I love you enough to tell you that your secret will keep festering until you deal with it.
Haven’t secrets tormented you long enough? Bring them into the Light. Get real with the One who comes where you are and refuses to leave you like He finds you. He carries what you need. He IS what you need! Friend, it’s Independence Day! Freedom awaits with YOUR NAME on it!
For comments or prayer, contact Dr. Lanier at PastorDebbie@HopeCommunityChurch.tv