Before I wrote my last post, I began to think about secrets and how they affect us. I read different studies and articles about secrets. Most studies came to the conclusion that many of the secrets we carry are not harmful but there are some that are not good for us. They usually separated the secrets into two categories: those that we don’t think about and those that we think about a lot. The studies usually concluded that it is the secrets that we continually think about that cause us damage. They cause us stress and we know that stress is not good for us. The studies were very general and a bit vague so I decided to come up with my own SECRETS CHART and let you know how I try to process them. Photo by Phlim 1310 Courtesy of Pixabay
These secrets are usually very nondescript. Someone may say, “Don’t tell anyone about my makeup secrets or where I got this dress.” These secrets do not evoke an emotional reaction inside of me and they do not affect me one way or the other.
These secrets are usually social and relational. I will hear, “Don’t tell anyone that I like him,” or “We’re going together but we don’t want anyone to know.” Again these secrets are just information and again usually they do not affect me one way or the other.
The secrets in this category are of a different sort. These are the secrets that I may hear in the job I work at. These are secrets that, by law or agreement, I am not allowed to tell anyone. When I work in a medical office, people’s health information is private and is protected by law. When I work in an office where there are corporate secrets, I have signed a non-disclosure contract. If I work in an attorney’s office, ditto, attorney-client privilege. These secrets are usually documented but must not leave the office or only leave the office if they are requested legally or subpoenaed. A person must use EXTREME CAUTION with these secrets because if you say anything to anyone, you have broken the law and can lose your job.
I know that these secrets can affect you emotionally having worked in both a legal office and a medical office. The best thing I can do with them after I have processed them emotionally is to give them to God. I can’t change what I have heard and now know about someone, but I don’t want to carry the information around inside of me. I must pass it along, hence, “From their lips to God’s ears.” I can talk to God about what I know and leave the information with Him. After all, He is in charge of the world, not me.
The secrets in this category are DANGEROUS. They make me STOP and do something about them. If someone is breaking the law, I need to report it. If a child tells me they are being abused, I must report it. If someone is stealing from my employer, I need to report it. These are not secrets I am supposed to carry and do nothing about. They are secrets that must come to the light of day and be exposed.
These secrets are some of the most difficult to carry. People tell you things before they pass and you are not allowed to share the information. Someone has been cheating on their spouse. A woman wonders if her child belongs to her husband. The secrets in this category are emotionally charged but again, I probably should not take action about them. What do I do with this information so that it doesn’t harm me? Again, after I process these secrets, I must release them to God. I do not want to carry this information and most of the time I did not solicit it. Someone may have confided in me because they thought I was trustworthy. So again, I give the secrets to God, “From their lips to God’s ears.” I let Him carry them.
This category of secrets is the most destructive. These are the “DEEP, DARK SECRETS” that we carry. These secrets consist of things we have done or possibly have been done to us in decades past. There is shame associated with these secrets and we don’t want to talk to anyone about them. What do we do with those secrets? First, we take them to God and talk to Him about them. My motto changes slightly here, it now becomes, “From my lips to God’s ears.”
If we have done wrong, we tell God. The Bible gives us some guidance here: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. We ask for His forgiveness and we ask Him to cleanse us from the sin we are carrying around. Then we see if there is something we need to do about what we have confessed. Is there someone we need to ask forgiveness from? Do we need to call or write a letter? Have we stolen something? Do we need to make amends? These actions help us become free from the hold the secrets have had on us. If we are not sure about what we should do, we may need to speak to a pastor, priest or counselor. These professionals can give us counsel and guidance about how to proceed if we need to make restitution for anything. Many times, there is nothing we should do but let our secrets (sins) go into the Sea of Forgetfulness. We have done what we could and we need to release ourselves from them.
What if the secret is about what someone has done to us? These secrets are a bit trickier. Sometimes bringing these secrets to the light of day will destroy people and families. Is that something I want or need to do? A good place to start with these secrets is with a professional: pastor, priest or counselor. If you are embarrassed, let me tell you, these people have heard everything and nothing you say will surprise them. They can help you sort through the maze of your emotions and help bring you healing and help you figure out if you are supposed to do anything with these secrets.
Do you live in a culture where you cannot share these things with anyone? If you do, will you be blamed as the perpetrator instead of the victim? Will you be punished for what someone did to you? Then you must keep your secret, but share it with a loving God who will be there to help give your heart healing and you vindication. Remember, He has seen what happened to you and He will eventually take care of it in His time. “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord, Romans 12: 19.
Secrets, sometimes they are nothing, sometimes they are everything. Seek counsel if you need it and trust God. He will help guide you through the maze about what to do with them. Most important, don’t let the secrets you carry affect you and your mental and emotional health!