Secrets, secrets are no fun. Secrets, secrets hurt someone. ~ The Office
There was a post recently about how one mother taught her children to stay safe. The big takeaway lesson was that in their family, there were no secrets. There could be surprises (which meant that you kept something quiet for a little while but after that time everyone would know), but no secrets (meaning something you were asked to never reveal). You can read the entire post here. So it should be with the family of Christ.
Reflecting on the darkness of secrets led me to think about some of the women in my life from whom I have learned the most, who I admire most. I realized that a powerful part of what I admire is their courage in coming clean with their dark “secrets” for the good of the world. These women’s stories include past abortions, substance abuse, incarceration, sexual exploits…certainly many things that could make the “straight-laced” churchgoer turn up their nose and run for the hills. (Hey churchgoer - don't do that!)
What is so admirable about these women (and men for that matter), is that they came to a point in their life and spiritual journey where they decided to leave the shame behind and claim the mercy that is theirs. They have come clean, wholly and fully clean, by the grace of God. They reveal the full truth of their lives – with discretion – but they are willing to reveal it all.
Why is this so important? It is simple. We cannot show others what Christ has done for us if we aren’t willing to expose the depths from where he lifted us up. What good is a life in Christ if there is nothing different about us? What good is redemption if there was nothing to be redeemed?
We cannot hide in embarrassment.
We must bring what is hidden in the darkness into the light.
There is nothing Christ does not already know – even the darkness is not dark to Him.
There is no shame in our failures. We all have them.
To make this possible, we have to embrace the truth tellers with open arms. We have to embrace their courage and provide them safe space to work out their stories. We cannot be the ones in the pews raising our noses at them with a sigh of relief that it isn’t our story. Every story belongs to us collectively.
We are all sinners. We are all broken. We are all fallen. It is just a reality of our humanity. It is through our brokenness that the spirit of God breathes life into us. It is through our brokenness that there is room for the spirit to reach through us to someone else who is hurting and in need of healing and hope. Who am I to say no?
I write all this not to point a finger. I write this mostly to myself. I cannot sit in the comfort of my dark closet with a life that may resemble holiness on the outside, when I know too well the skeletons that are collecting dust in here. God makes those dry bones dance, and for the love of all that is holy, I need to step outside the safety of my hiding place and dare to let the light bring life to what I think is dead and dirty. It is only then that God can use that to redeem me and whoever needs to hear my story of redemption.
So...are you ready to spring clean your soul? Be daring and see what happens!
Until next time, let's get out there and love 'em like Jesus!
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