I haven’t come to any hard and fast conclusions about my topic today. Something a friend said got me thinking about the secrets we keep, why we keep them, from whom we keep them. So I’m just sort of letting my thoughts drip out of my fingers onto my keyboard this morning, and we’ll see what happens.
Sometimes we keep secrets out of guilt. We don’t want others–not even those closest to us–to know about our darkest selves. If we are keeping secrets about sinful behavior or attitudes, then I think we’re in trouble. To keep sin secret is to allow it to grow and take hold. It becomes one of those strong holds mentioned in II Cor. 10: 4. When we indulge in behaviors and thoughts that we know we must keep hidden even from those closest to us, we are truly walking a dangerous path.
There was a young man who was handsome, intelligent, and personable. He first saw pornography when he was about 10. It took a strong hold in his mind, and finally in his heart. Today, 20 years later, his marriage is in danger because he finally acted out on what he’d been hiding for all those years. His secret, though, since it has been exposed, has lost all its appeal for him and he is truly broken before God and his family. I think they’re going to make it.
Not all secret sin is so clearly sinful, though. Sometimes we hide things that, in themselves, are not really sinful. Sneaking chocolate into the house in your purse? Chocolate isn’t sinful. Hiding it and indulging in it secretly? Well, if you’re saying things like, “I don’t know why I can’t lose weight! I’m so careful about what I eat!” Now you’re sinning, because you’re deliberately choosing to sabotage your health–and you’re lying about it.
Reading material. Music. You have no idea how easy it is to hide horrible “music” (I’m sorry, I don’t consider a lot of what passes for music these days to really be musical) in the middle of an iPod, or on a tablet or any other electronic device. Did you know that kids know how to access porn on their X-Box games? They can get online to play with the kid down the street, and that’s all you as a parent are aware of. What you don’t know is that they’re accessing porn sites together.
But lets go to a different kind of secret. Maybe you had a relationship prior to meeting your spouse, and you were sexually involved with that person. You don’t want your spouse to know, because you’re afraid he would leave you. Maybe it wasn’t sexual sin. Maybe you experimented with drugs. Maybe you drank too much. Maybe you stole money or shoplifted to get things you thought you had to have.
Or maybe the appearance of spirituality is nothing more than a facade, and you are dishonest with your spouse about what she thinks is a close relationship with the Lord. Maybe you are a spiritual leader in your church: Pastor, deacon, bishop, elder, teacher, ministry leader. But maybe it’s all a facade, and you know it is, but you’ve fooled everyone else including your family.
It happens all the time.
So give me some feedback, okay? Why do you think we put on these false fronts to begin with? Why is it so hard to admit to previous sin that may be affecting your marriage now? Should you “tell all,” or are there some things that need to stay buried in the past? If you have confessed and repented of sin to God, do you need to share that with your spouse if he wasn’t involved in any way, if it happened way before you met him?
If you are struggling spiritually, maybe fighting depression, should you keep that a secret from your spouse in order not to worry her?
How about your kids? What do they need to know about you? What should you keep from them? When does keeping a secret become passive lying?
I’d love to hear what you have to say about all this.