A few years ago, during a high school reunion I connected with some of my former classmates and learned all kinds of things I had never known. Little did we know back then that many of our classmates were dealing with things, things they never wanted other people to know about.
There was one girl who never once allowed us into her family’s apartment. We always wondered why, but never thought of asking her about it. She always went to each others homes for meals or parties, but we never celebrated a birthday party or get-together in her home.
It wasn’t until we were long past high school that we discovered that her father was an alcoholic, and they did not own a piece of furniture. They slept on the floor; ate on the floor and rarely cooked anything to eat. It was always cold cereal or bread. But none of us knew.
Another girl was always cheerful and upbeat around us, but we later learned that she was being abused by her father, and later by one of her brothers. This abuse had been going on for years, and she was afraid and ashamed to let anyone know.
Folks, many us lived secret lives, lives that were left hidden in dark places. The proverbial Peyton Place: “A composite of all small towns where ugliness reared its head, and where the people tried to hide all the skeletons in their closets.” Now that we are adults, some can bring those secrets into the open, and discover healing. But sadly, many continue to keep those secrets hidden for the rest of their lives. How painful that must be.
I am encouraging you to find healing for your past. Seek a small gathering of brothers and sisters and share your past with them. Open your heart and share your deepest pain with them. If you want to receive healing, you must be willing to share the truth. You will never be set free if you continue to keep it secret. Quit pretending that those painful and negative things didn’t happen. Quit building walls and stuffing things into dark corners, pretending they never happened.
Why do we hesitate to bring things of the past into the open? Are we afraid what people will think? Are we afraid they will reject us? Will they misunderstand us? I will be honest that they might, but so what? Others will wrap their arms around you for support, love and encouragement.
To receive healing, you must be willing to admit your pain. There is something liberating when we verbalize our hurts, our pain, allow our secrets to see the bright light of day. Find someone or group of believers you can trust. Don’t try to put your burden on that their shoulders, but rather allow them to pray with you, encourage you and support you. Don’t go on a digging expedition, bringing up old hurts and offenses that have already been buried and forgotten. But bring out whatever is bringing you down, crushing the life out of you.
Some of us are trapped in denial, afraid of what might happen if others knew the truth. But as long as we deny the past, we will never be free from it. None of us will discover the freedom from our problems unless we are willing to admit we have one. An alcoholic, drug addict or anyone who has lost control of their life is doomed to suffer until they can say, “I have a problem, and I need help with it.”
Even if your pain is the result of something done against your will, if it remains hidden, hiding in the dark recesses, it will continue to grow and take control over your entire life. You must bring it out bring it out into the light of day. Your past experiences may have even made you the way we are, but you don’t have to stay that way. You can take the initiative—share it with a friend you trust, a pastor who can bring comfort and encouragement. Then ask for your Heavenly Father’s help. Whatever that problem is, face it, consider confessing it to a trusted friend, and then, and this is important, admit it to yourself. Face the truth and allow it to be the beginning of a life of liberty and victory!
With these Morning Messages, I take you on guided tours to, as Bunyan described, the Celestial City. At times we linger at corners familiar and unseen. And explore the depths of our faith along the way.
The trail is long, but there’s no hurry. Though we do need to stock up on supplies for the way, and that’s where I need your help. If you enjoy these messages, please consider becoming a contributing member of this tour group. It will be very much appreciated.