by Crystal Brooke:
Have you ever had a something that you didn’t want anyone else to know?
A secret maybe?
I know I do. I have lots of secrets. Things that I don’t share with others because I’m afraid of how it will change their view of me. Sometimes it’s little, silly things like I hope no one knows how deeply I enjoy Hallmark Christmas movies. I absolutely love them. They are sooo incredibly cheesy and predictable. They really aren’t that great but I love them anyways! Some people find this out and they’re like, “Ohhh…you’re one of those people.” It’s silly. In the grand scheme of things, what does it really matter if others look down on my love for cheesy Hallmark movies? Their opinion on that doesn’t really matter that much. What about my bigger secrets though? Those things I hide deep down in the dark because I’m convinced these things will change how others view me.
Recently I started an internship in a forensic, psychiatric hospital as a music therapy intern. I had the privilege to meet some pretty cool individuals over the past month and a half. One thing I’m sure they all have in common is secrets. However, some things can’t be kept secret. As much as those with whom I work may like them to remain so, things surface: legal charges, psychological diagnosis, history of abuse. They all come to light.
I would hate having my secrets exposed so openly.
I would hate it if, like the individuals with which I work, people would know whether I have been abused or abused others; that they would know if I have a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia or borderline personality disorder; that they would know any and every illegal thing I’ve done in my past. I believe would struggle with guilt, shame, and depression. To have all my secrets laid bared before others, that is a scary thought.
Yet in the midst of all this darkness, there is hope. For it is when we expose our secrets to the light that we can find healing.
Over the past week, I have spent a lot of time in thought on how secrets becoming known parallels my spiritual life. No one is perfect, we all make mistakes and do things of which we are ashamed. For myself, when I sin or trip up, I tend to hide it, burying it deep down so no one will ever find out. Why? If I truly believe the Lord is all-knowing, then He already knows the deepest darkest secrets I have. I think of the interaction between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. Jesus knew this woman’s secrets, her shame. Jesus knew that this woman had had five husbands, He knew that she was a social outcast (hence why she was at the well by herself in the heat of the day), He knew all of it; yet He still offers this woman the most precious and valuable thing one could ever receive–eternal life.
Then, like a bolt of lightning, it hit me—the Lord’s scandalously amazing grace is far bigger than anyone’s sins could ever be. It’s bigger than the shame that may haunt you. It’s bigger than the judgements of others. Grace, God’s pure amazing grace–wow. The world can look at you and say “adulterer, thief, murderer”, but if your faith is placed in what Christ did on the cross, then you can be assured that when the Lord looks at you He says “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy” (Mt. 3:17, NLT). It’s hard to comprehend the depth and breadth of God’s grace. Anytime I contemplate it, I find myself humbled and amazed by the complete and total goodness of the Lord. I rejoice in knowing that at the end of times, when I stand worshiping Christ before the throne, any individuals I have met at my internship could be standing before that throne worshiping Christ too. They’ve all done terrible, in some cases horrendous things. But the beauty of the Gospel is that it’s not about what we have done.
It has always been, will always be, about what Christ has done.