You’re Only As Sick As Your Secrets
If you are like I was, you carry around some secrets that you hope no one ever finds out about. Actually, I had two kinds of secrets. First, there were the every-day secrets. They were the ones that I didn’t even think were secrets. My normal mode of operation was to be dishonest, but of course I never would have used that word to describe my behavior. I would have said I was being diplomatic, or using discretion. I rarely told you what I was really thinking or feeling. I gauged everything I said by the response I wanted to elicit in you. Everything was geared toward trying to manage your impression. of me. This first kind of secret may sound rather innocuous to you. You may be thinking, "Gosh, everyone does that to some degree. That’s not so bad." (We’ll look closer at this later in the article.)
The secret I was really worried about was the second kind- one of those big secrets. I had committed a sin that I was very ashamed of. Even the thought that anyone would ever find out was humiliating to me. There was no way I could ever tell anyone. What would they think?!
So I devised a plan. I would confess my sin to God and He would forgive me and I would vow never to do it again. That shouldn’t be too hard. I didn’t want to commit that sin in the first place, and it made me feel so awful. Of course, I would never do it again. But I did do it again. And again. I couldn’t stop. I hated myself. I felt sick, but I had to act as if everything was okay. I couldn’t afford to have anyone ask, "Is something wrong?" What would I say?
I was fortunate to be part of a fellowship that knew the necessity of rigorous honesty. These were not people who put on their Sunday smiles and pretended that everything was fine. They were real. They were honest. They weren’t afraid to expose their insides, no matter how it might look.
But these people terrified me. The more real they were, the more fake I felt. Sometimes at the close of a weekend together, someone would say, "Well, does anybody have anything else they need to share? If you feel like you have a knot in your stomach, then you’re the one who needs to be talking." I always had a knot in my stomach, but I never talked about it.
God gave me plenty of opportunities to confess my sin, but I wouldn’t take them. Finally, I was practically blackmailed by someone who knew what I had done, and I had to confess. But it was not the kind of confession the Bible talks about. It was more like just admitting. I was still wanting to look as good as possible-to somehow make it sound not so bad.
I was familiar with the verse in James, "Therefore confess your sins to one another … so that you may be healed" (James 5:16). But I wasn’t experiencing the healing that I’d witnessed in others when they’d confessed their sins. As I became more and more aware of how sick I was, I started desiring to be well. I knew that the truth in James 5:16 was the only way out for me. "Confession" means "to agree with God"-to see the sin as He sees it, without minimizing or excusing or covering up.
As I became willing to be honest and started confessing everything that came to my mind, my first reaction was extreme shame and condemnation. I knew now that I was still believing in a "just me" that was really just this horrible person.
This is where the significance of that first kind of secret comes inremember, the "everyday" secret. In putting my focus on the "big" secret, I had overlooked the root of it all. The root was in my sinful view of myselfthat I was this independent person who needed to look a certain way.
The outworking of this view was the "everyday" secret-that I would do anything to promote the image I wanted others to have of me. Because I was believing in a "just me," Satan was able to operate me and live out his self-for-self life of lying, and hiding, and dishonesty.
At first, it looked rather innocuous (to the person not on to Satan’s ways)-the "diplomacy," the not being honest about my thoughts and feelings, the "impression management." But now I see that my "big" secret was only the natural outgrowth from this seemingly benign operation of Satan. Both kinds of secrets are from the same root. To the untrained eye, one may have looked better than the other. But they were both equally Satan operation and equally dangerous and destructive.
If you have a secret that’s just between you and God, ask yourself, "Why am I not believing James 5:16?" Your unwillingness to share your secret with other believers indicates that you are still holding on to an independent view of yourself- my reputation, my selfesteem, my life. And where an independent view is held onto, Satan is operating through it. He will see that you become more isolated, more fake, more useless for the Kingdom of God. If you want to insure that Satan has no foothold in your life, "confess your sins (secrets) to one another."
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 9 No 5
- Romans Six to Eight, Paul’s Key to the Liberated Life
- To Think About
- Editor’s Note
- The Committee
- Moments With Meryl
- Excerpt from The Intercession of Rees Howells
- Book Review: Continuous Revival
- Questsions & Answers
- Perfect Containers
- God Always Gets His Way
- Powerless Over Alcohol & Life: Step 11
- The Mailbox
- You’re Only As Sick As Your Secrets
- From Death To Life
- Words To Live By