Years ago I had a secret. A secret so shameful, that I could not tell anyone. At the time, it just wasn’t done. It was a secret that wasn’t spoken about at dinner parties, and a problem you were expected to solve on your own. I had carried the secret for years, and it was making me sick.
DO YOU HAVE A SECRET?
Pastor, do you have a secret you wish you didn’t have? Is it one that you don’t want anyone else to ever discover? Are you getting tired of hiding this part of you, of masking over the pain and the shame? Is it a secret that only you and your husband or wife know about? Or, maybe, they don’t even know? Is your secret making you sick?
One of the secret weapons against secrets is also one of the secret weapons against sin. That weapon is… the light of day! Your secret only has power because it’s a secret. As long as it’s a secret, it has control over you. Once you shine the light of day on it, it loses its power and hold on you. Once you tell your secret to another person, you share the burden of it, and it begins its descent into irrelevancy.
God does not want us pastors to carry secrets. They lead to shame, guilt, lies, holding our cards close to our vest, etc. God doesn’t want us doing ministry alone, and he certainly doesn’t want us carrying our burdens, our secrets, alone. Maybe it’s time for you to come clean, to share your secret with a trusted friend or mentor. Maybe you need to share the burden of it with another, and to get help. When you tell your secret, it’s like a new car immediately after you drive it off the show room floor, it’s drops in value big time! A shared secret loses its teeth, and releases its bite on you.
BACK TO MY SECRET...
Back to that secret I had years ago. Dear God. I carried that thing around, with my wife’s help, for years. We sweat over it, prayed about it, tried our hardest to fix it, and did make some progress. In fact, we made a good deal of progress. But we bore it in silence, and in secret, hoping no one would find out. If they did, they would think less of us, perhaps consider us unworthy of ministry.
When it was time for us to move to a new ministry, I decided I would open up and let our new church leaders know up front what my situation was. I was almost sick over it, no, I was sick over it! I wasn’t sure they would want me. I’ll never forget the call. It was a special call I made before I came to candidate. I was honest and open. I shared my secret. To my shock, and delight, it was a nonstarter. “Is that all you got?” they said. I was floored, and felt a ton of weight being lifted off my shoulders.
“Has it been difficult?” they asked. “Yes” I said. “Then good, we want a pastor who has been through the ringer and knows what it’s like. We want a pastor who has crashed and knows what it means to get up and keep going. We’re on your side, we’re in this together.” After we hung up, I sat there in my van, staring at my cell phone, weeping. This is what grace is. I finally experienced it. Grace. Love. Acceptance. Jesus. This is the body of Christ.
What was my secret, you ask? I’ll never tell! LOL. You see, you don’t have to tell everybody your secret for your burden to be lifted. You just have to tell the right person or persons. Paul said, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” James said, “confess your sins one to another, that you may be healed.” If I told you, you would say, “oh yeah, that” and move on to the next thing. No big deal. But it was huge to me, because I had no one to help me carry it.
What secret are you carrying? Can I scream it? Here I go – FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE, BARE YOUR BURDEN! TELL SOMEONE! SHARE YOUR SECRET! And watch it lose its power, and feel the weight lifted off your shoulders. Then understand what Jesus meant about finding “rest for your soul.”
OUR GIFT TO YOU
This Wednesday, on the 200churches Podcast, episode 64, we talk with John Lynch about our pastoral health. We talk to him about what it’s like to be honest with someone else, nothing hidden. If you have secrets that are making you sick, don’t miss this episode. We love you Pastor, and we want to bring hope and encouragement to you this week.
So, today, this one’s for you! For all the men and women out there pastoring small churches – we love you! You bear the burdens of others, carry the water for the ministry, and often go un-thanked and unnoticed. So from Jeff and Jonny today – THANK YOU! Hey, we noticed. We’re two of you! We know. It’s a new week. If you need Wednesday’s episode – we offer it to you as our gift of encouragement and support.
Happy Monday. Now, go get ‘em!
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