I would like to start this post out by saying I do not have all the answers on the subject of secrecy and shame. There is more to be said and considered. I encourage you to seek counsel from a grace filled Christian if you need help in this area of your life.
There was this sin I committed as a teenager that was very, very terrible. I didn’t have the courage to confess it to even the closest of friends and instead, I kept it hidden inside the darkest corners of my heart… where it would never become exposed. When friends would jokingly bring up ‘dark secrets’, I would laugh it off and say I didn’t have any. But inside of me, the memory of my action would always creep its way back into my heart and into the forefront of my mind.
Along with the memory came shame. I “knew” God had forgiven me. I really did. I had apologized to him in secret a million times over…. and yet the memory would still show it’s painful face weekly, sometimes daily, and I would shudder at the mere thought of my mistake and shove it as far back as I possibly could.
This was a burden of mine for 10 years. 10 YEARS people. That’s a long time. What’s even worse? I got married and KEPT THE SECRET from my husband. Wanna talk about shame? I know the feeling well.
Once I got married, I would justify this “un”confession because I believed God had already considered it gone.(He did by the way, I just didn’t really know it) I would close my eyes, visualize the sin upon the cross of my savior, and feel temporary relief. I would yell at the accuser and remind him that I was clean in Christ. But no matter what I tried, I still felt the pang of secrecy, and shame had become a regular part of my life.
I also believed the lie that if I ever DID tell my husband, he would no longer love me or see me the way he once did. What would I do if he looked at me in disgust? This scene would replay over and over in my head, and I would recoil with a new found determination to never let that happen.
Grace. Can I show you another corner of grace?
I was in a women’s bible study and the topic was on shame. This bible verse was read:
16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.
I had confessed my sin in front of God, but I still covered the nakedness of my sin in front of others. In doing so, I wasn’t allowing grace filled Christians to re-iterate the truth of the cross.
That night something clicked. I knew that if I walked out on this scripture, the accuser was no longer going to have this area of my life. Why? Because what happens after confession before grace filled Christians isn’t disgust. It’s grace that brakes down walls of shame in mere seconds.
I was afraid, but I was ready. I was ready to watch my savior kick the devil in his face while I held his hand.
So that night, I confessed to my grace filled husband.
That same night, the chains of shame fell off.
My husband so gracefully took me in his arms and reminded me of my savior.
He was proud of me, not disgusted. He cuddled me that night a little harder as I cried tears of relief. It was out. The dark secret was out. And as SOON as it was out, it evaporated into thin air.
Thin. Air. It was like the devil had lost his firm grip in an instant. That shame went right where it’s supposed to go, the cross of our savior.
Gone. 10 years of shame, gone.
The devil has since TRIED AND MISERABLY FAILED at bringing up my past sin that it’s almost laughable.
There is freedom in walking out the uncomfortable verses of God’s word. There is grace that shows up when you’re ready to jump off the cliff. There is mercy and love and forgiveness and help when you decide it is finally time to not let the devil have an area of your life anymore.
If you have shame and you have never shared your ‘dark secret’ with the family of God (who understands grace,) I would encourage you to consider that verse in James 5. Read it’s context, pray, and seek counsel. God is ready to show you that your shame doesn’t belong on you, you beautiful child. God is ready to use the cross of Christ as a permanent eraser on whatever dark secret you hold**
**Friends, if you don’t confess, you aren’t going to hell. When you confessed Christ as Lord and believed God raised him from the dead, he paid for your sins….. past, present and future. (Eph 1:7, Rom 4:25, Rom 5:6, Rom 10:9, Heb 10:12, 1 Jhn 2:2)