Monday, February 7, 2022

Keeping Secrets

Why We Keep Secrets?

We will examine Scripturally, why people are keeping secrets. In the Bible, we are taught that keeping secrets can be either good or bad (Proverbs 11:13). When King David fled from Absalom, he advised Hushai the Arkite to return and expose the military secrets of Absalom and his advisers (2 Samuel 15:32-37). Likewise, we also read how Samson revealed his Source of strength to Delilah which he later admitted as a terrible mistake (Judges 16:4-22). This was a secret he should have kept because it was validated by a command from God (Judges 13:5).

Additionally, Queen Esther kept her nationality a secret and this decision became part of God’s plan to save His people from destruction (Esther 4:13, 7:3-6). Had Esther or Mordecai revealed her identity she probably would not have been in the race of becoming Queen. In Proverbs, we learn “…But a man of understanding holds his tongue, a gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret” (Proverbs 11:12-13 NIV). In view of the above Scriptures, keeping a secret can be for noble purposes and that is to save lives, but secrets kept for wrong reasons are wicked (Proverbs 17:23). There is however one secret that will always be wrong in the sight of the Lord, “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13 NIV). God demands full disclosure of our sins and trying to hide sin from God is impossible. “For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open” (Mark 4:22 NIV).

The Force Behind Secrets

The Bible says that the Lord has secrets too (Deuteronomy 29:29). When our Lord Jesus Christ healed and performed some mighty miracles, He repeatedly warned the people not to disclose (Matthew 9:30).

Generally, there are certain things we may share with people and there are equally also certain things people shouldn’t know. The Lord’s concern is how secrets are kept, is it to protect or to hurt. How do we determine the motive of a secret? What we should consider is whether we are acting from malice to expose and hurt, or whether we are doing so to protect and help someone. Keeping wrongdoing a secret is sinful, and using a secret to slander is equally sinful.

Do Not Reveal Secrets to Slander

What increases discord amongst people is an unfaithful friend who reveals someone’s secret to slander and causes harm. This is often the case when friendship or relationships breaks up. People tear at one another’s weaknesses and vulnerability, the Lord will not forget the promises we made to each other to keep a friend's weakness secret (1 Samuel 20:17). Therefore, do not slander one another by revealing your friends' secrets unless it’s meant to hurt someone. The Lord says this is an act of betrayal and wickedness (John 18:2).

Personally, I am not ashamed to share that I made some bad choices in the past, and I know there are many people who might be in a similar situation as I were but they feel too ashamed to repent and come back to the Lord. Paul was not ashamed to declare himself chief of sinners, God loves people who act in humility (1 Timothy 1:15). I had an experience of such an act of betrayal of trust. In the early 1990s, about a few months after my conversion. Being still a babe in Christ, I got involved in some wrongdoing. Some weeks passed and I felt the need to confide in someone. In my guilt, I decided to confess my wrongdoing to some trustable brethren to support and counsel me. However, a few months later, these Christian friends went and gossiped telling another Christian brother what I confessed. In an act of malice, this brother went out to slander me. Some people were disappointed in me and consequently avoided me. I felt worthless as a Christian and this was marked the beginning of my journey down the road to backslidden land where I remained for more than 10 years. 

While there, I found all my old friends and habits until the Lord miraculously cleaned and brought me back to reunion with Him almost 15 years ago. From this experience I learned that my understanding of the Scripture that says: “Therefore confess your sins to each other…” (James 5:16 NIV) was not wrong it meant to only confess our sins to our fellow brethren if we have sinned against them (Matthew 5:23-24). If we use secrets to destroy the faith of others we will give account to God for the loss of that soul. We should therefore not use others’ weaknesses to drive them away from the Lord that is wickedness, instead, we should encourage and pray for them. The Church is commanded to forgive the guilty person and restore them in the Lord rather than slander through gossip (2 Corinthians 2:5-11). As we know, the Lord is merciful and forgiving and we should show the same kind of forgiveness and respect for people’s salvation. This is a serious matter and it would them turning from death (James 5:20). A few years ago, someone confided in us and confessed his sins and wrongdoing to us. We did not use that against him, we counseled and corrected the person and since the person was praying with us we asked the Lord if the person should still be part of our intercessory prayers. Little did we know the person asked the Lord for forgiveness and turned from his wicked ways so the Lord said the person may continue to pray with us. We, on the other hand, continued to show him our love and in Jesus' name, this led the person to regain his confidence in the Lord.

Let us, therefore, keep secrets we are entrusted with that protects the integrity and dignity of repentant people. As Christians, our aim is to reconcile people with God so we should kindly correct and encourage them (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15). Let us not reveal people’s deepest weaknesses to hurt for that drives away any chances of people making right with Christ who paid with His blood for their priceless salvation. However, after correcting a person with wicked motives and if he is bent on doing evil and unrepentant. It then becomes a duty that we expose wicked secrets that seek to destroy others unjustly like Mordecai did (Esther 2:19-23). As a father, I have taught my children not to keep someone’s wrongdoing a secret, especially of children their age group or some adults who meant to cause them to harm they are to confess to us. Equally, this is what Paul’s nephew did, the boy exposed a wicked plot to save Paul’s life (Acts 23:16). Finally, we should respect God’s secrets, especially what he entrusted to us regarding others, unless God reveals a secret of someone that is meant to lead others astray. In such cases, we must look at the bigger benefit. In conclusion to this message. Please, please DO NOT KEEP THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL A SECRET. YOU HAVE PERMISSION TO PROCLAIM IT ON THE ROOFTOPS - THIS IS A COMMAND! (Matthew 10:27). The Lord has also revealed a few secret things to us which we are forbidden to share on this website or with others (2 Corinthians 12:14). Please pursue peace, faith love, and purity in Jesus' name.