Thirty-some years ago when times were a lot different than they are now, even in the small rural area where we live, we had a neighbor who was a champion at pulling information out of people. This neighbor didn’t have any children of her own but she loved children and they loved her. Occasionally our four-year old daughter, Kelly, would decide she was going to walk up the road and talk to the neighbor.
Kelly was a talker herself and was easily enticed to tell everything she knew, or what she thought she knew. As she was going out the door, I’d always say, “Now Kelly, don’t tell all the family secrets.” This went on for several months before Kelly stopped as she was going out the door one day, put her hands on her hips, and with dramatic flair said, “Just what are the family secrets anyway?” I laughed and told her not to worry about it because if she didn’t know them, she couldn’t tell them.
Cute stories aside, family secrets aren’t really anything to toy with. When I was twenty-one, my mother told me a family secret. I have been burdened with it every day since then. It is a life changing, hurtful secret for the ones involved. I don’t know what my mother was thinking when she divulged it to me. Maybe she was looking for a means of confession and absolution for her part in it. Maybe sharing it with me lessened the load she carried.
In my research on the word “secret” as it appears in the Bible, I found Old Testament Hebrew words translate as: to be ashamed, disappointed, delayed, thing that is hidden, to hide, a mystery, inward council, weaken or become weak. New Testament Greek words translate as: hidden inwardly, concealed, and private.
I’m sure my mother was ashamed and disappointed with herself so she hid it away inwardly. The problem with delaying the truth is that, eventually, the weight of carrying it weakens your resolve and you tell someone. For every person who knows the truth of the situation, there is the additional worry of knowing they might weaken and tell someone. The cycle continues until the thing that was meant to be hidden, concealed and private becomes public and it takes on a life of its own, destroying the lives of those involved.
You may be wondering about now how there could be anything joyful in this revelation. It is hard to find, but when I dig deep enough, I do find reason for joy. In the forty-plus years I’ve held the family secret, I have not weakened. The Holy Spirit has kept my lips zipped anytime I was tempted to spill the beans. I have spent many sessions with The Father over this. He has been faithful to answer my questions and show me the consequences to revealing this truth. Anything that drives you to a deeper relationship with your Creator brings joy. Two scripture verses have helped me stay strong.
“Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34 NIV
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 ESV
What experiences have you had with keeping a secret? Is there a word of advice you can share with my readers?
This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us be joy-filled and glad-Cathy