Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. 2 Corinthians 4:1-2
The more I get to know myself and the people I’m in relationship with the more I have begun to realize that the habit of secret keeping is pervasive to the human race. We all have this propensity to keep secrets.
I think, from personal experience, that there are many different and often complex reasons why we keep secrets from those we are in relationship with. Maybe we keep things in our life a secret because we know they are wrong. Sometimes we keep them a secret because we know that those we are in relationship with will judge us harshly — that they will not accept us if they knew the truth. At other times I think it’s because we want to project a certain image, an image that isn’t true to who we really are. We want people to see something different. And the list of reasons goes on and on.
Now, I’m not saying that at times we don’t hold things back from certain people. That somehow we must dump every fact, every detail of our lives to every person we have a relationship with. What I’m talking about are the habits, the practices, the choices that we are intentionally keeping from people because it’s better for us if they don’t know.
A good test is not, “Does everybody know”, but “Does anyone know?” Are there any believers I’m in relationship with who know this thing, this practice, this struggle, this doubt?
No matter the reason we keep these secrets the reality is that keeping certain things secret from those we are in relationship with is just a nicer way of saying that we are lying. Lying to those around us, and lying to ourselves.
We’re good at justifying it to ourselves – believe me, I know. But in the end it’s just easier for us to not have that part of our lives held accountable by others.
For Paul, writing in 2 Corinthians, he makes it clear that he and those he is in ministry with have made a choice. They have consciously decided to renounce secrecy and deception. Paul understood that to reach people with the gospel you have to be in true relationship with them. And he also seemed to understand that true relationship doesn’t happen when there is secrecy.
A couple of weeks ago a friend was telling me something her pastor had said the week before. I don’t know if these are his words or if he got them from somewhere, but they are powerfully true.
“Where intimacy lives, secrecy dies. But where secrecy lives, intimacy dies.”
We can’t have both. Relationships are built on intimacy, but if we hold secrets we can only go so deep with people before we fear them uncovering our secrets.
Are you struggling with secrets that you won’t let out? Are you ready to find relationship and freedom on a whole new level that only comes where secrecy dies?
In the future I will write more about the freedom I’ve found personally by letting secrecy die, but for now let us just consider what secrets we still hold and notice the weight they place on our shoulders.
“…we have renounced secret and shameful ways…”