No creature can hide from him, but everyone is exposed and helpless before the eyes of the one to whom we must give a word of explanation.. — Hebrews 4:13
Why do we keep secrets from God? Or here’s a better question. Why do we think we can keep secrets from God?
Lying in my bed as a teenager, just back from a youth retreat, I decided I better start praying. I can remember guarding my words. Beating around the bush. Stumbling over what I was trying to say. Coating my real feelings in platitudes. And then I heard a clear voice speak in my heart, “Don’t you think I know already? Why don’t you just say it?”
I felt foolish. Of course, God knew what I was so politely trying to say.
There is a tendency in human nature to hide what we are ashamed of. Whether they are inappropriate thoughts, negative feelings, hurtful actions, manipulative motives or godless beliefs, we often choose to please rather than to be honest. No one wants to be ostracized or judged. The fear of self-honesty can be rather daunting.
Someone I know recently said jokingly, “If people could read my thoughts I’d be in jail by now!” We laughed and yet that honesty was revealing. She was aware of her thoughts and also aware that she had to censor them in a lot of ways.
From the earliest days, we see people in the Bible hiding from God. Starting with Adam and Eve. They ate the forbidden fruit and then they hid. They knew in their consciousness they had done something wrong and fear was the natural response. Hide. Don’t let God know.
Sitting in the third row at a recent Big Daddy Weave Concert there was an invitation for those who were struggling with suicidal thoughts or had been affected by abortions, rapes, affairs, addictions or abuse to come forward and receive prayer. The flocks of people who came forward were astonishing.
There were tears. And hugs. And a feeling of release from hiding. That is freedom.
Everyone has something. If you don’t think you do, I suggest you do a little more digging. Examine your thoughts. Are you judgmental? Arrogant? Skeptical? Are you hard on yourself or others? Did you do something years ago that still haunts you even though your life now seems picture perfect? It’s time to face yourself honestly.
Without honesty, there is no relationship with God or self. Without honesty, there is no intimacy or self-respect. Without honesty, we divide ourselves between two worlds. The world that really is and the world we pretend there is.
And who wants to live a false life? If that is a life at all.
Seeing hundreds of people come forward reminded me that we are not alone in our pain and suffering. We are called to strengthen one another in our faith. Sometimes you’ll be the one receiving prayer and sometimes you’ll be the one praying for others. That’s life.
It’s time to silence the PRIDE that wants us to remain in hiding and haveCOURAGE to come out and be seen.
To begin healing from life’s messes is to admit to God, and to ourselves, the nature of our wrong. Make a decision to walk out of the darkness and into the light and present yourself to God with all your human frailties.
Remember. He knows them already.
The good news is that God’s nature is forgiving and loving and long-suffering. He is not looking to berate you and punish you. You aren’t going to be rejected or ostracized. He will come running towards you.
Like the story of the prodigal son, He is looking out the window, eagerly waiting for your return, so He can welcome you back into His arms and cloth you with the finest robes and have a feast in your honor.
Don’t sleep with the pigs anymore. You are a child of the most-high God. It’s up to you to get up, change your direction, and walk back home.
Forgive yourself. God loves progress and does not expect perfection. Beating yourself up is not healthy and is actually quite arrogant. Was Jesus’ sacrifice not enough payment for your sins? Do you believe that you need to pay a bigger sacrifice by reliving the wrong over and over and over and beating yourself up for your mistake?
Rise up. Choose courage. Walk in freedom. Let it go.
Come. Back. Home.
Day 11 Lenten Love Prayer:
I wish I could put together the right words and make it sound good, but I’m tired of hiding. You know my heart and my thoughts anyway so I may as well tell you the truth. I have made mistakes I’d prefer not to admit to You or to anyone. I am embarrassed and have held myself at a distance from you trying to pretend everything was ok. When it wasn’t. But I know better now. Today I choose courage over pride. I am grateful for this moment of clarity where I have the ability to ask forgiveness and do better next time. I am a work in progress. I will always be a work in progress. And You know that too. You made me, with all my gifts and all my humanness and you love me fully today exactly as I am. There is nothing I can do to earn more of your love. I accept it with a humble heart and say thank you. May I always remain open and honest with You and myself. I know it is this foundation that will cause my life to be solid and secure in You. I ask this all in Your name.
Day 11 Scriptures:
For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light.
— Mark 4:22