It’s a natural tendency for us to want to hide our sin. Adam and Eve attempted to hide from God as soon as they sinned and we’re no different. The devil plays on that tendency, using lies to persuade us to cover our sin with secrecy. Some common lies the devil uses are:
· “They won’t understand”
· “They’ll judge me”
· “They can’t help me anyhow” or “I don’t need their help”
· “They don’t know what it’s like to be me”
If we believe the lies, we will likely withdraw and disconnect from God and people in our life. The truth is that we cannot afford to be cut off from these potential help sources. Our adversary, the devil, prowls around like a “roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). When we allow ourselves to be isolated, we’re like the weak gazelle that gets separated from the rest of the herd. It falls easy prey to the lions stalking it.
What’s so dangerous about keeping my struggle secret?
Secrecy brings us under the devil’s influence: Secrecy is deception and deception is the work of the “Father of Lies” – the devil (John 8:44). When we engage in deception, we open a door in our life to the devil’s influence. God desires that we have truth in our “innermost being” (Psalm 51:6). When we hide things with secrecy, we are giving falsehood a place in our innermost being. Secrecy opens the door to fear. Sin is powerful fuel for fear. Typical fears we may have include:
· Fear of being found out
· Fear of being divorced
· Fear of rejection
· Fear of losing my job
· Fear of losing my friends’ respect
· Fear of having to give up my pet sin
Since we want to avoid any of these situations we’ll likely dive deeper into secrecy to medicate our fear. The result is that we’ll probably also go deeper into our sin habit and also be in bondage to fear.
Secrecy causes physical problems. Living a double life will wear us down physically, emotionally and spiritually. For example, in Psalm 32:3-5 David described what happened when he kept his sin secret. David’s bones, vitality and emotions were all affected by his secrecy, until he confessed his sin. There are many other possible physical problems that could arise from staying in secrecy.
Secrecy blocks blessing: God will not bless us when we’re covering our sins. Proverbs 28:13 confirms this: “He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”
It is best for us to break secrecy! Regardless of our situation, it is best to break secrecy by confiding with someone we know. The obvious question is “Who should I tell?” We encourage you to cover this question with much prayer. Some people may be better able to handle the revelation of your sin than others. Ideally, you’ll want to share your situation with a Christian who is walking closely with the Lord. This is because they then can pray for you and give you Godly encouragement to continue through your walk to freedom.
If you are married, you have another major decision to consider.
Places to break secrecy
Church: Living the Christian life is challenging. God wants us to join with other believers as a team. As Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, we all have different functions in the body of Christ. We can't afford to be separated from each other, because we need connection with other believers for encouragement and edification to help us withstand the enemy. If you are not connected to a good church, please visit our Church page.
Accountability relationships: Accountability relationships can be excellent vehicles through which to break secrecy and mutually encourage one another in our walk with Jesus. The term “accountability” refers to a loving relationship (non-sexual) between same gender Christians that is meant to mutually encourage and strengthen each other in their pursuit of God. These relationships can exist in a one-on-one or in a small group (3-5 persons) format. Ideally the persons involved should meet periodically throughout each month to stay in tune with how things are going with those in the group. These are not performance-oriented relationships. If a person falls to sin, the relationship should not be in jeopardy. It is probable that all of us will fall in sin one time or another. The accountability relationship provides a safety net to help get us back on track and keep walking with Jesus.
There are several scriptures that support the concept of accountability relationships:
· Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
· Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them."
· James 5:16: “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another…”
· Proverbs 27:17: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
An example/analogy for the potential effectiveness of accountability relationships is the story of how Jonathan and his armor bearer defeated the Philistines single-handedly (1 Samuel 14:6-14). The two men were united in purpose, faith in God and desire to serve God. As Jonathan attacked the enemy, his armor bearer stayed with him and guarded his back. Also significant is that though the Philistines fell before Jonathan, it was his armor-bearer who actually killed them. Likewise, in the spiritual battles of life that we face, we need armor bearers to go with us to help us fight. The walk with Jesus was not intended to be a one-man show. We need to be connected with those in the body of Christ as a team. Also, we need to be available as armor bearers for others in their battles.
Qualities of a successful accountability relationship:
Truth: This may be the biggest challenge week in and week out. The group members must fight the temptation to gloss over what is really going on in their lives. If people aren’t being real about what is going on, then the group will lose effectiveness. It may be difficult to admit that we’re struggling, but it’s really difficult to admit when we’ve failed.
Love: Love will keep the relationship alive and free from any legalistic turns. Failures should be addressed with gentle rebuke, prayer and exhortation. Love also is quick to listen and slow to speak. I’ve found it’s often a temptation to want to give advice and a quick fix; people don’t always want or need my advice, but they do want me to listen to them; I’m not the healer, but I am to lovingly point them to the master, Jesus.
Who to meet with? We encourage you to seek God’s guidance for this. You obviously want to be cautious about who you approach. Look for God’s prompting and confirmation as you go forward. If you are not sure about where to start in looking for a potential group, ask your pastor.
Personal Application Questions:
· Have you allowed yourself to be isolated from God and/or the body of Christ because your sin? If so, what steps will you take to get re-connected?
· Have you told someone close to you about your secret sin yet? If not, what are the excuses you are using?
· How many of those excuses are based on truth?
· Are you willing to surrender any fears you may have about breaking secrecy to God? If so, please take a moment and speak to the Lord in prayer about your fears.
· If you are not ready to break secrecy, please make a note in your calendar for next month to reconsider the decision. Continued secrecy may only prolong your walk to purity.
· One of the common excuses that people have for not being accountable is the fear of being judged. People sometimes forget that others have the same struggles and are often much more sympathetic than expected. If you haven't been accountable to someone about your struggle, take a moment to share your reasons with God in prayer. Ask him to help you overcome any excuses that are holding you back.
· Are you involved in an accountability relationship right now? What steps will you take to get connected someone?