How to Find Relief from Guilty Secrets

By Grantley Morris


Guilty Secrets

The Twelve Steps Programs have a powerful saying:

    “You are only as sick as your secrets”

The agents of darkness lose much of their power when hidden things are brought into the light. To hide the things that haunt us, treating them as dark secrets to be kept from other Christians, is to try to fight the forces of darkness on their own turf. It is to play into their hands, foolishly putting ourselves at a dangerous and totally unnecessary disadvantage in our spiritual fight.

“ . . . in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). The cunning enemies of our soul are well aware that their chances of hoodwinking us soar if they can somehow pressure us into isolating ourselves from our greatest human sources of comfort and spiritual wisdom. Their evil strategy is to keep us from sharing with other Christians our deepest concerns because these spiritual con artists know that feedback from truly godly people will bring us back to reality and help us see through the lies deceptive spirits have kept whispering in our lonely ears. The forces of evil want exclusive access to the most vulnerable area of our lives

Every street-wise city dweller knows that to walk alone in the dark is the scariest, most unwise place to be. There is security in numbers.

Beasts of prey are forever on the prowl for sheep that become separated from the flock. To try to isolate us from the counsel and comfort of every Christian on the planet is a truly devilish trick. And this is exactly what happens when we are conned into condemning ourselves to the icy loneliness of keeping an area of our life hidden from even the most trusted of our friends and the most warmly accepting, Christlike person we know. The enemy is happy for us to receive affirmation in those parts of our life in which we don’t need help, as long as we are duped into cutting ourselves off from every trace of love and support in the very area of our life that is causing us the greatest torment.

Refusing to unburden ourselves to anyone Christlike makes us terrifyingly vulnerable to spiritual blackmail, demonic delusions, groundless fears, suicidal despair, and being cheated out of all the wondrous privileges that cost Christ everything to lavish upon us.

Child molesters have the condemnation of society and the full force of the law against them and yet still they turn innocent children into long-term helpless victims. It would almost seem impossible they could get away with it, and yet they do because they fill childish minds with false guilt and with despicable lies about the consequences of spilling the beans. They might say, “If you breathe a word of this, whoever hears it will know it is all your fault and that you are the most repulsively wicked person on earth. They will tell your parents who will be so angry and cry for days, wishing they had never had you and punishing you worse than you could ever imagine. Then they’ll have to tell the police, who will arrest you and keep beating you to make sure you tell them every single detail. The story will be headlines in all the newspapers and television, and everyone in the whole world will hate you. Mobs will march through streets burning photos of you and demanding you be executed. The police will throw you in jail for life and all the other prisoners will do cruel things to you because they know you are so much worse than any of them.”

Such threats are made to seem so real to little children that they dare not say a word, but in terrified silence they suffer unspeakable horrors alone, cut off from all the comfort and protection that would have been theirs.

Thus these law-breakers keep their victims suffering horrifically when in reality help is so close at hand and it is the molesters who should be guilt-ridden and terrified of being discovered. Demonic powers – the slimy agents of evil that lust after your soul and long to dominate you – use the same evil tactics, hounding you with groundless fears in the hope that you won’t breathe a word to someone who could give you the love and comfort and relief you so desperately deserve.

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Deadly Toe Hold

The spiritual lowlife arrayed against us aren’t too thrilled about us having good, Christian friends that we let into 99% of our life. Nevertheless, they are delighted if there is just a small but vulnerable area of our life in which we act like loners. We give our spiritual opponents the upper hand whenever, by giving in to false shame, we in effect block everyone out of the very part of our life that is under spiritual attack. That way, our enemies have a wounded part of us that they can cause to fester because we won’t let others touch it with the healing balm of their love and understanding and acceptance. They seek an area of your life into which they can keep pouring in false accusations unchallenged by the truth that God imparts through other Christians.

Throughout history, one of the hallmarks of genuine revivals has been the open confession of sin. What seems scary, turns out to be one of the most liberating experiences known to humanity. The ending of guilty secrets brings heaven – that joyous place of transparent honesty – to earth.

One of the most astounding tragedies is that many of those who feel the loneliest, most unloved people on the planet actually have loving friends, families and marriage partners. Their lives seem flooded with love and yet to them it feels like a sham because they are living a lie. You are doomed never to know you are capable of being loved if you shrink from letting anyone know the real you. You can never feel loved while hiding in the bleak, scary, lonely hole of secrecy. Holding on to a guilty secret is the loneliest place in the universe. It is locking yourself up in a haunted dungeon filled with ghosts from the past. It is sentencing yourself to being constantly on edge, afraid of shadows.

The time will come when every secret will be exposed. Get it over with now so that you can start living. Leave it much longer and it could be too late. To freely confess will be your glory. To have it exposed against your wishes will be to your eternal shame.

You might suppose you have no need to share your secret with anyone because it is a matter between you and God. There is no question that God’s view is paramount. If, however, you are too ashamed to tell others about something God says is totally forgiven and is no longer a part of you, it would seem most peculiar. It means you are cutting yourself off from much of the comfort God wants you to have through his children. Moreover, it suggests you are struggling to believe the past has really been cancelled. If so, you would greatly benefit from the support of other Christians and from the knowledge that they accept the real you.

Furthermore, by maintaining the secret, you are keeping others from a blessing. Too many of us act as if our mighty Savior is as pathetic as petty humans who can only forgive “small” sins. We reinforce this heresy when we participate in the giant cover up in which Christians dare not glorify their Savior by declaring the extent of God’s forgiveness in their own lives for fear fellow believers prove unable to believe – or at least unable to act as if they believe – that God is as forgiving as the Bible says. Open confession helps break the satanic conspiracy of silence that causes so many Christians to clam up and makes each think that they alone in their congregation have serious battles with sin. It is the breaking of this silence that helps power revivals.

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Breaking Free

What makes bursting out of the dark, icy cold dungeon of secrecy so scary is that we do not know how people will react. They might reject us or gossip about us or, if we have done something illegal, turn us over to authorities. They might even act like Peter, who despite his most loving intentions ended up so off track in his reaction to what Jesus shared with him that Jesus had to tell him, “Get behind me, Satan!” (Mark 8:33).

We need to be wise and prayerful about who we select to tell. We need to know their integrity and how well they can maintain confidentiality. We also need to somehow get an accurate idea of how what we tell them would affect the way they view us.

I would like to help you get a feel for how people would respond if you were to confess to them. If you are considering confessing to a friend, tell the person, “I have heard of a game to improve friends’ understanding of each other. Could I play it with you? It simply involves dreaming up weird, largely out-of-character scenarios and taking turns asking how the other thinks he/she would respond to that situation. It takes us beyond what we have experienced with each other and so gives us new insights into each other’s attitudes.”

Use your imagination to list every shameful and embarrassing thing you can think of. Fill in the dots below and add any other situations you can think of. If you feel the response you receive is too shallow, question your friend deeper about how he/she would react if the situation were true. Ask your friend, “How would you feel and what would you do if I told you that:

    * I had lied to you all my life about . . .

    * I am addicted to . . .

    * I have told others that you . . .

    * I have secretly thought . . . about you

    * I have these spiritual doubts . . .

    * I have these daydreams and longings . . .

    * I have cheated you out of . . .”

You might like to make it even harder for your friend to guess why you are doing this by adding some scenarios that are not confessions, such as, “What if in the future I . . .”

If you find your friend’s response favorable, slip in your confession, but treat it just like the others, not letting on that it is genuine. Then later decide if you can trust the person sufficiently to confess.

I am here for you if you are unable to find someone with the necessary ability to understand and accept you. To my dismay, if an unconfessed crime is involved, I might have legal obligations to inform authorities. Other than this unfortunate limitation, you are welcome to unburden yourself in an e-mail to me.

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Not to be sold. © Copyright 2008, 2013 Grantley Morris. May be freely copied in whole or in part provided: it is not altered; this entire paragraph is included; readers are not charged and it is not used in a webpage. Many more compassionate, inspiring, sometimes hilarious writings available free online at  Freely you have received, freely give. For use outside these limits, consult the author.


Guilty Secrets