Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops. (Luke 12:2-3 ESV)
These two verses are terrifying to me. For one who has spent so much of his life in shadows, such “light” applied so thoroughly to those shadows is frightening. There’s a reason I liked the shadows. When I was a kid, like every kid, I was afraid of the dark. But then, at some point, something changed, and I loved it. It was like a comfort. That should have been scary enough, or at least a warning to me.
In my home growing up, the “secrets” were pretty benign. We didn’t have abuse or anything, but we did have disease and its affects. We did work within a system that seemed to require a certain amount of secrecy. “Don’t ask, don’t tell”; if the information wasn’t requested, don’t give it. I suppose what I remember were more “lies of omission”, but again, pretty benign when compared to the horror stories I’ve heard from other families. It wasn’t bad, so it seemed acceptable. It wasn’t until I was older that I figured out that those two are not exactly the same thing, merely related, and not even that all the time.
The reality I’m coming to understand from Scripture is that the cliche about God knowing everything about me is only part of the story. The other part is that He wants everyone to know everything about me too. When He describes the life full of light, and the “singleness” of sight, and other means to describe complete transparency, I get really uncomfortable. Yet, what He wants among His people is for them to be fearlessly transparent with each other. For someone who actually likes the dark, that’s not really comfortable, not at all. My life isn’t that…”good” that I’m willing to be that transparent, with anyone.
Ironically though, I’m realizing that it’s this transparency that my Master has designed as His path out of the darkness of my “hidden sins”. I want to get cleaned up first, but He wants to clean me using this transparency. In a way, it’s this transparency that enables Him to use others to achieve my sanctification. The transparency opens myself up to the accountability which then provides the context to choose life each minute. Sure, it would be nice to have the power within myself to make those choices, but my Master seems determined to make and keep my dependent upon my fellow believers and followers. The Holy Spirit coming along side to help me chooses to use those around me to facilitate the changes He wants to make. To borrow another cliche, it takes a village to live a life pleasing to God. Another way of looking at it is that salvation is lived out within the context of a church, or it’s not lived out. Although I suppose it would depend upon the church.
See where this enforced honesty and openness is so unnerving? So, I need to be transparent, but I also need to be in a church where transparency is at least accepted rather than rejected. I don’t think everyone in the church need be transparent, I’d be able to use the excuse that I can’t find such a church, and therefore don’t need to be transparent myself. That won’t fool my Master. As long as the church doesn’t disassociate with me, kick me out, or reject me out of hand for the transparency, it should be effective. But there are other dangers in transparency. Confessing my sin could spread it’s affect to another, weaker brother or sister. That would be counter productive. Care should be taken not to hurt others, but such restraint should be driven by my love for them, not my fear of confessing my sin. It doesn’t change the need for transparency.
Going back to where we started, there’s really no point to keeping my sin secret. Jesus is pointing out that it doesn’t matter where you speak it, it will be found out and become public (politics 101). So, I (and you) might as well be transparent. It won’t matter what we try to hide anyway. I guess for me the trick will be ensuring that I’m not spiritually “streaking” where everyone is affected, some adversely, by my openness. But the important part is to do it rather than simply write about it.
What do you learn from Jesus’ declaration there will be no secrets?