Secrets. We all have them. And we’re tempted to keep them private, hidden, concealed. Secrets feed on our fears.
“If they really knew who you are, no one would love you anymore.”
“People are going to be so disappointed in you when they find out what you’ve done.”
“Can you imagine if they could read your mind!”
There are things we struggle with in secret which consume us. And we go around, wearing our happy-mask… pretending to be ok. But we’re not ok.
When people ask how we’re doing, we tell them, “I’m fine.” But inside we’re crying out for help.
Whether your secret struggles have to do with mental health, body-image, sexual identity, abuse, addictions, pornography, or any other number of things… you do NOT need to struggle alone!
Why We Hide
- FEAR. If someone else finds out they’ll look at me different. They won’t think I’m good or beautiful or “worth it” anymore. If they knew the real me, they wouldn’t accept me and they’ll look at me different. If they knew the real me, they wouldn’t accept me. This points back to the beauty of last week’s emphasis on intimacy (“Intimacy is being fully known with no fear of rejection.”)
- SHAME & GUILT. I don’t want to struggle with this. I think this is wrong. I hate that I did this and I don’t want to do it anymore, or think about this anymore. If I ignore this and pretend it isn’t there, then maybe it’ll go away?
- CONFUSION. We don’t understand what we’re going through. We’re insecure and totally confused. How would I even express what I’m going through and wrestling with. If I don’t understand it, how am I supposed to talk to someone else about it!
The Bible on Secrecy & Confession
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
In this section of 1 Corinthians 10, the Apostle Paul was talking about idolatry and sexuality. He’s emphasizing that these are areas where the temptation to remove boundaries is common to everyone. We set up false gods (remember, idolatry is anything that competes with God for that #1 place in your life), and everyone fights different types of sexual temptations. Why do we hold these things so secretly? They’re common! Everyone fights temptation.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:16)
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
So confess your sin and admit your temptations. When you confess to another Christian, you’re inviting them to remind you of the gospel of grace. Point each other to the cross and the empty tomb. Look at 1 Peter 2:9, and remember this is how God sees you if you’re a Christian! Confession brings your sin from the darkness into the light. There is freedom in the light of God’s grace; but sin and shame love the darkness. Live as children of the light!
Three Necessary Confessions
- Confess to yourself. If you can’t admit that you’re struggling with something, then you obviously can’t confess it to God or anyone else. You need to admit what you’re struggling with… even if you can’t really explain what it is, admitting that you’re dealing with ‘something’ is a beginning.
- Confess to God. Our desire for intimacy (“being fully known without fear of rejection”) shows sour desire for God. Confession to God doesn’t bring rejection, but redemption! Because of Jesus’ death on the cross and the resurrection, when we confess our sin and proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, he forgives our sin and washes us white as snow. That doesn’t mean the struggle is over, but when it’s brought into the light our shame is removed and we are free to invite others into our lives who can help.
- Confess to someone who can help you. Again, be careful who you confess to… because your friends might be struggling with the same things as you. Find someone (a parent, an adult youth leader, a teacher, guidance counselor, coach, etc.) who can help you. Build a small army (one, two, maybe three people) who can truly help you and support you so you aren’t struggling alone. Don’t start telling everyone all your secrets, that’s definitely not a good idea. But know that you don’t need to struggle alone!
What’s the Big Idea?
No one has it all together. And no one should struggle alone! Refuse to live in secrecy and fear, invite a few trusted adults into your life who can help you. Build an army to help you fight your secret struggles. Yes, maybe it’s a small army… but no one needs to struggle alone.
Finally, let’s be people who are safe for our friends, because we ourselves are free from fear and shame. Because Jesus has removed our shame, we are now free to live in service to others. Look out for others who are struggling, and don’t be shocked by what they’re living in… instead, offer the grace of God through Jesus Christ. Our hearts desire intimacy.
“While we were still sinners (fully known), Christ died for us (fully accepted).” Romans 5:8