Just before you comment below, that was a rhetorical question. Please don’t bare your soul to the world!
The reason I ask isn’t because I’m creep (hopefully — you’d tell me if I was, right?!?). I’m asking because this week at the Living Room we’re talking about being holy — which we might equate with being a “good Christian”.
Only thing is…I don’t think I’ve actually met a “good” Christian. I’ve met loads of people who look like good Christians. An important distinction. I guarantee we all have our “dirty little secrets”.
I’m not implying that behind every locked door a Christian is scheming evil and heinous deeds like Mr. Burns wheezing, “eeeeeeexcellent”. I’m merely offering a helpful reminder that we are all broken sinners in need of God’s love and healing. And often it is the things we never mention, the darkest secrets of our soul, that are most in need of God’s healing.
I’m reading a book at the moment called “Home”, by Marilynne Robinson (incidentally, anything of hers is absolutely beautiful! …I encourage to plumb the depths of her prose!). It’s a story about a broken family. The youngest sibling, Glory, comes home to care for her dying father. She comes from a messy break up with her fiance. Soon after she comes home, her brother, Jack, turns up after twenty years absence. He’s the prodigal of the family. Off the rails. Screwed up in a plethora of ways.
As a child, Glory would always confuse the word sacred with the word secret. She thought that, when her brother or sister told her a secret, she could not share it for fear of divine retribution! Throughout the book, the words secret and sacred keep popping up.
The two do seem to be closely linked in scripture. In the Old Testament, the Holy of Holies was the most sacred space at the centre of the Temple. Only the High Priest could enter, off limits to everyone else. In the gospels, Jesus would frequently retreat to a private place to pray to the Father. And he would often rebuke people and evil spirits for revealing his secret identity as the Son of God. In the book of Acts and Paul’s letters, we are told that the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in each believer — our very bodies becoming temples of God.
Often we want to hide our darkest secrets from others and even from God. But what if our darkest secrets are the most sacred places? In the book, “Home”, Glory and Jack start to build a close relationship. Jack is pretty broken. He doesn’t trust anyone — especially himself. But he learns to trust Glory. He starts to share his secrets with her and she with him. And as they share their most sacred spaces with one another, healing begins to take place — in the family and with God.
I haven’t finished the book yet, so I can’t tell you how it ends! (You’ll have to read it yourself). But I suspect that keeping our darkest secrets from God and others for fear of being seen as a “bad” Christian is actually an unholy act — an act that refuses to let the healing Spirit in to the most sacred spaces of our lives.
I’m not saying, go and tell all your secrets to someone you barely know. But sharing secrets about our weakness and brokenness is a sacred act. God in his goodness shared his secret with us in the person of Jesus Christ. We, in our brokenness, are invited to do the same and in the process to hear God’s secret for us: we are loved.
Blessings and see you Sunday!
p.s. Let me share one of my dirty little secrets with you: if you read this and greet me on Sunday with the Hunger Games three fingered salute I will reward you with a chocolate!