Friday, 13 November 2009



I have been asked to keep a secret a few times, a real secret, something people really didn’t want others to know about. The secrets have either been good news that wasn’t yet ripe for sharing or something more personal that would never be open knowledge. Some of the secrets were shared purposefully, being brought out in to the open as one of the reasons for the conversation but some more out of necessity for openness in our relationship. Being the holder of a secret is quite a responsibility, it brings a level of nervousness, that it may be shared carelessly or accidently. The secret needs to be stored away in the memory banks and forgotten so as to ensure its safety from early release but easily remembered when necessary. Secrets come with a level of trust, nobody shares real secrets with someone they believe will disclose the information at the earliest possibility. There is a duty to care for the secret, to hold it tightly, to keep it safe, to hide it.

There are hidden things however that do need disclosure, I am not talking about those secrets that require disclosure for safety reasons, more hidden things in our lives that stay hidden despite their fighting for air at times. We hide how we feel, what we are going through, we hide what we really think and hide from situations and people. We hide our pain, our difficulties and we even hide our successes and joy’s. There appears to be a lack of honest in our relationships, sometimes out of wisdom, nobody really wants to know if their bum looks big or if the present from your mother was really just what you’d always wanted. Sometimes our lack of honesty comes from fear of upsetting others, we don’t want them to know they’ve hurt our feelings, we don’t want others to feel sad about us, disappointed in us, we don’t want to incite jealousy or look like we’re boasting. The common greeting of ‘I’m fine how are you?’ is just pleasantry not reality. It is not often our lives are just ‘fine’.

It would appear that we are also not too honest in church, we have learnt very well how to behave in church, how to relate to each other. As my friend says, we have the bountiful book of Christian platitudes for every situation, ‘offer it up’ ‘leave it at the cross’ ‘faith is only faith when it’s all you’re hanging on to’, followed rapidly by some awkward smiling or pained expression. These are good words and true but not necessarily what we need - perhaps someone just to listen to us with acceptance and love. We do not want people feeling that if they were only a ‘better Christian’ they would be able to deal with their feelings or their circumstances better. We do not want people to play the game a bit better - we want honest and real relationships in which we can grow and flourish. Perhaps one reason why we do not show our true self so much is we have created a culture in church that if you show any perceived weakness your strengths are in question, you will not be allowed to minister, to exercise your authority, to disciple others?? Not really how Jesus treated his disciples, he didn’t wait until they were perfect before he sent them out! It appears he believed you learn about yourself through being sent out not being kept in. But it is not just the difficulties, our failures, our disasters, it is also our joys and our good times where we will not always be fully honest. If we are experiencing heaven’s heights we tend to tone that down for fear of being thought flaky or boastful. We live in a culture that does not accept success well, always looking for the flaws and suggesting that happiness and joy cannot last, throwing in scriptures like hand grenades. I am not suggesting that we become brutally honest with everyone we meet but I am suggesting that there needs to be an increase in honesty in our relationships.

And then there are the secret and hidden things of God, Jesus taught us about the hidden treasure and Paul wrote about the secret things of God. There are things worth the time and the cost to discover in each other and in God. I will come back to those thoughts another day.

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