"If you don't tell them, they will come to light and expose you either way but, if you tell them, people will judge and abandon you."
Those were words that my mind kept on echoing to me as I contemplated about a shameful sexual sin that I had probably committed when I was a child and the more I contemplated it, the more anguish I felt because I wanted to share it to not give leverage to the enemy but, I also didn't want to be judged and cast out as a freak because of it.
Though I had forgotten about it for a long time, when it came back to me that I most likely did something shameful and bad, and that could change a few things, I felt sick and began to condemn myself.
How could I do such a thing?
Yes, I was very young - around 8-10 years of age - but still. . . wow.
Yet, even though it was repulsing, I knew that God had already forgiven me and I was slowly beginning to accept that there is just no way for me to go back and change things.
I was far too young, far too stupid and far too gullible. I didn't know better.
Now I do and it sucks.
Yet, I chose to just leave it behind me but, it kept on coming back in the forms of anxiety and fear.
My mind kept on reminding me of Scriptures that felt like were telling me to come clean on my own or have it exposed because, either way, it was going to come out:
"Everything that is hidden will be shown, and everything that is secret will be made known. 3 What you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in an inner room will be shouted from the housetops."
- Luke 12:2-3 NCV
My mind kept on saying that it was better for me to just come out on my own but also better for me to keep the secret because I would be judged by people.
I felt like I was playing myself. I felt like someone was playing with my mind and building guilt in my heart.
It was as if I was building guilt on not telling the secret to anyone and on telling the secret to someone.
It was eating me up.
I felt condemned and yet, funny enough, I knew I wasn't.
No, no, no. As far as I knew and believed, those in Christ no longer face condemnation (Romans 8:1), therefore, God was not condemning me.
No, these thoughts weren't inspired by God at all and if they were not from God, and felt alien to me, they were from the enemy.
Yes, the enemy appeared to be influencing my thoughts and seeing that he knows Scripture as well, it was as if he was using them against me just like he tried to use them against Jesus (Matthew 4:5-6) and I knew, that as long as I harboured this secret, he would keep on playing with my mind.
I contemplated telling it to my best friends or the girls from my connect group - just people I felt and knew that would keep the issue between us and wouldn't just drop me as if I was some disease or anything like that.
Yet, my mind also found a way of telling me that they, too, would judge me in secret. That they could very much tell me that they were there for me and wouldn't judge but then judge me when I wasn't listening.
I didn't want that. I didn't want to believe that because I didn't feel like that was true.
Sure, it could be quite shocking at first but, I didn't believe that they would just drop me.
Though, I was still kinda thinking that they would judge me somehow and that kept me rooted for weeks.
I didn't say anything for weeks.
Not every secret has to be shared with others. I had already shared it with God who I knew wasn't judging me but had forgiven me.
Yes, I would just keep that secret between me and God, and everything would be fine. I didn't need to share everything with everyone.
I thought it would be fine, after all, keeping secrets in itself was not bad.
Sometimes we keep secrets for our safety or that of others, out of respect from others and stuff like that.
They are not necessarily bad, unless we are talking of hidden sin.
You have to confess your every sin to God and He will be faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you from your unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
Plus, it's not like any of us can hide a single thing from the One who knows everything.
Still, repent and confess your sins to Him and know that God is faithful and just and will forgive you.
I knew that and I did confess that sin, not caring if it truly happened or not, and I thought it would be over; I thought that the intrusive thoughts and accusations would be gone but, they kept on coming.
So, I kept on feeling like the more I kept this just between me and God, not telling anyone else, that I felt like it was just still a secret that would come out to bite me.
I wanted to tell someone so that I could get this guilt off me so that I could get these accusations off my back which sounds kinda stupid seeing that God has forgiven me and He has lifted the accusations against me.
Maybe the issue was that I felt bad and shameful and I didn't forgive myself.
Well, it came to me that though the act was shameful, I didn't have to feel shameful for I was cleansed by God and I didn't have to fear anything coming out if I could just tell it myself.
I was tired of the enemy using my secrets against me, of making me doubts friendships and myself, and when I stumbled upon Psalms 91:2, it came to me that I was focusing too much on what people would think of me, say of me if I told them.
I was forgetting that I could always run to God because He is my refuge, that I can always trust that I am in good hands because is my fortress, an impenetrable fortress who keeps me safe, and I do trust Him to keep me safe.
I trust Him to be there for me when no one else is.
I trust Him to shield me from the attacks of the world, from the arrows that will fly to me.
I trust Him to embrace me when I weep, to cleanse me of my sorrows when they come.
I trust God and also I trusted that it was best for me to tell others that I trusted about the issue, not just to feel more at ease but because I also believed that it would drop the leverage the Enemy was building against me.
I feel like the more secrets of my own that I hold, the more I will have to tip-toe around people, to tip-toe in order to not lose control of them and when I share them, I feel that anxiety just dropping [gradually].
So, I chose to share this secret that was doing my head in, as well but not as someone who is beaten down and without a choice but, as someone who is embracing her identity in Christ and choosing to walk away from the thoughts and memories that want to hold her back.
The thoughts and memories that condemn her.
I chose to not let the enemy play me with my secrets by telling them to members of my community and sure enough, there was nothing for me to fear, really.
They didn't block me or ask me to leave.
They did reaffirm to me that there is no condemnation in those who are in Christ and it is important that I echo this to you:
Christ didn't die for you to live in shame, for you to fear judgement, for you to cry yourself to sleep because you are afraid of losing people because of what you had done before.
Christ didn't die for you to look back at your sins and feel worthless, unpardoned or bad.
He died to save you from those sins, to save whisk you away from your shame and bring you to Him where there's everlasting joy (Psalms 16:11), peace (John 14:27), comfort (Isaiah 66:13), friendship (John 15:15), love (John 3:16), safety and protection (Psalms 91:2) and life (John 3:16).
I know that those secrets you have might feel too big that it gives the impression that once people hear about it, you will be cast out from your communities.
You feel like the whole world will judge you and you might choose to keep those secrets rooted.
While I believe that there are certain things that can and should stay between you and God, I also believe that sharing our burdens with others can help us let go of those anxieties and fears that we tend to hold on to and that infringe on our faith and life.
It's important to have a community of people you trust, whether that is your local church or your family and friends. It's just crucial to have that community to fall back on, to cry with, to laugh with, to share your burdens with.
Just don't let the enemy try to devour you with your secrets and past mistakes.
If they get too much, if they taunt you far too many times, share them with God first and if you feel like you need extra support, need to get it off your chest with someone else, tell them to the people you trust - even if it has to be one by one, at slow intervals.
Don't rush yourself, don't blame yourself, don't believe in the lies and condemnations in your mind.
Remember Christ and try to imagine the pain He went through to get you to be part of His family. The unfair pain He went through to get you saved and to let you know that you are loved.
Remember Him who died for you and would do it again, and again, and again.
Focus on Him, not on your past mistakes.