I've Got a Secret

Aug 30, 2023 by Colleen C Orchanian

One of the enemy’s favorite weapons is secrets. If I have a secret, I want to keep it a secret. I’m not talking about a secret like what I’m getting my husband for Christmas. I mean secrets that might embarrass me or make me feel uncomfortable or make me feel less of a person.

There are many kinds of secrets we might keep, information we don’t want others to know about us. Why? Often we are embarrassed. For example:

  • The prodigal son or daughter may not want others to know about how low they sank before they returned to God. It is a shameful time of their life and they don’t want others to think less of them because of it.
  • A person whose marriage failed or someone who has been married multiple times may not want that information shared. It makes them feel like a failure.
  • Someone who struggles with anxiety or depression might keep silent about that challenge. They put on a cheerful demeanor when others ask how they are doing. After all, if they have faith, they should not be depressed.
  • A man who has been passed over for a promotion at work doesn’t want others to know about that failure. It’s embarrassing.
  • A mother who is stressed by the challenges of caring for young children might hesitate to reveal that she’s having a bad day. She tries to be the perfect mom, not realizing that there is no such thing. She feels like a failure.
  • A church leader who is experiencing a dry spell in prayer doesn’t want anyone to know. They wonder how can lead others if they don’t have an experience of God themselves. They feel like a fraud.
  • An active churchgoer struggling with addiction keeps it a secret from his friends at church. What would they think of him? They might judge him for his lack of self-discipline.
  • A wife or husband is distressed because their spouse does not believe, but they don’t want to tell anyone. If they were a better disciple, they would have already converted their spouse.
  • A grieving widow doesn’t share her pain with anyone because she doesn’t want to burden them. She thinks she should be over it by now. So she suffers in silence and alone.
  • A parent whose child is addicted to drugs doesn’t tell anyone. They think people might wonder how the parent failed if their child is an addict.

These are just some of the secrets we might keep – or hope to keep. So why are they such a treasure for the enemy – for the devil? How does he use our secrets against us? Through fear.

We fear revelations about our past: What if someone finds out? What will they think of me? We worry about our reputation. Yet Jesus warned that everything done in the dark will be brought into the light. (Luke 12:2-3)

How did the apostle Paul deal with his past? He talked about it all the time. He used it to teach the mercy of God. He told people the things he did, how he participated in the stoning of Stephen, and God, in His mercy, transformed Paul’s heart and made him a new man. It’s okay to acknowledge where we have been because it brings great glory to God when others see who we are today. They know change is possible.

We may also fear that others will become aware of our faults, weaknesses and sins of the present. The devil wants us to present ourselves as perfect, but we know we are not (and others know that, too). It’s human nature to put people on a pedestal, but it’s a dangerous place to be. Once we accept that lofty position, we fear getting knocked off. If others knew our faults, they would take us down. So we keep our secrets. And the enemy threatens us with them. He keeps us on edge. But God wants to give us His peace.

Another reason the enemy wants us to keep secrets is so that we don’t seek help when we need it. If I have a dry spell in my prayer life, I might be embarrassed to share that with others who seem to be more advanced spiritually. But those people are actually the ones most able to help me.

If I have a problem with substance abuse, keeping it a secret also keeps me from joining a 12-step program to be freed from addiction. If I am married to an addict, keeping that secret prevents my attending AlAnon to learn how to manage the challenges of family addiction.  

If I am grieving but not processing that grief with others who can help, I may end up isolating myself and never get help to turn my mourning into laughter.

The devil wants us to suffer alone, to struggle alone, to feel all alone. He wants us to keep our secrets.

That is not the way of God. God wants us to be authentic with others. If we love God and trust God, we can be vulnerable because we no longer seek the approval and validation of the world. We know God’s love. We know His mercy. We trust His plan. We surrender our pain and suffering to Him.

We all have secrets – things of our past or present that can be used against us. Should we be an open book with everyone we meet? Absolutely not. We use prudence in sharing our struggles with others. Sometimes we share because we need help. Sometimes we share to give hope to another person who is dealing with the same kind of trial we have experienced. Sometimes we share to glorify God and witness to his great mercy and grace. Sometimes we share to teach another person so they don’t follow the same path we did.

The underlying issue when we keep secrets is our pride. We care what people think of us. Sometimes we underestimate the character of those around us, assuming that they will react negatively to our secret. Ultimately, we are who we are – warts and all. If someone rejects me because of my past, that’s their issue. It doesn’t change who I am today. If they judge my degree of faith, that’s their mistake. Only God knows the state of a person’s soul. If they point out my faults, and they are right, I can acknowledge that truth and begin to address those faults.

I encourage you to fight this tactic of the devil. Know the secrets you fear being revealed. Spend time in prayer to understand how the enemy is using that secret as a weapon in the spiritual battle. Find a trusted spiritual friend to share your secret with and you will begin to overcome this tactic of the enemy. You will come to know the peace and love of Christ - and that perfect love casts out all fear. Praise God for that!

Questions for prayer:

  1. Is there a secret that the devil is using to create distress in your life? What is the source of that distress? What are you worried about?
  2. How can you respond when the devil attacks you through your secrets? How can you make this tactic less effective?