A few days ago, I met with one of my spiritual sons, Josue. (As usual, real names are not disclosed for the sake of privacy.) During our time together, I brought up Ravi Zacharias, who recently died, and some shameful, hidden sin patterns had begun to emerge. One of our central questions was how someone could live a secret life on the international stage.
During this time, Josue told me that he, too, had a secret sin and that he was tired of living with it. Josue mentioned that there was no one else he felt he could talk to about this secret. He feared that I would write him off – or “unfriend” him as is happening in our current cancel culture. I watched as he fought back tears. And I believe that I loved him well, offering much grace along with an ample amount of truth (which he already embraced).
This morning, in my quiet time, I came to a well-known concept in the Gospel of Luke, which I will quote here in context:
“No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness. If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays.” Luke 11:33-36, NASB
We all know the first portion about not hiding a lamp under a bushel. Many of us may have sung “This Little Light of Mine” in Sunday School or Vacation Bible School. However, after Jesus gives this concept, he warns us to “watch out.” That’s the part we seem to ignore.
Instead, we tend to take this idea of a lamp and make it about being a witness for Jesus. That’s totally out of context. It might be true, but it’s not the focus of the passage.
Ravi Zacharias was a fantastic, powerful witness to millions of non-Christians through his speaking and written material. Yet there was a place in his life where there was a “dark part” that wasn’t being illuminated by the light that he knew so well. I have no intention of delving any further into his life.
What I do want to delve into is the question is, What about you? What is that secret sin pattern that you so carefully hide from even your closest friends and family members?
There is a difficult problem that arises out of even acknowledging our secrets. Many people—very many—do not have someone they can candidly talk with about their hidden sin. In the past month, I have been told by three different men that there is no other person in their life that they can talk to about a particular issue. The word “trust” came up in each conversation. They struggled with feeling judgment and shame. They worried that their confession would be posted on social media within the hour they confess.
This is a tragedy. This causes us to hide our true selves and pretend to be more than we are. And we simply accept living as fakes because being real could crush us more than living a fake life.
Even if we feel that we have it all together ourselves and our “whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it,” there are hurting people who cross our paths every day. Every day. It happened yesterday; it will happen again tomorrow.
This doesn’t become a license to pry into the personal lives of others. But it should remind us that people are looking for someone that they can trust to talk about their struggles to live a whole life before the God of Heaven and their friends, families, and co-workers.
Here’s a helpful hint on allowing people to trust you. First, trust them. Take the chance to share what’s happening in your life – not just the good things, but also the struggles. Show them what it looks like to trust someone. They may eventually reciprocate.
Even if they don’t, you’ll be living an authentic life. One where the light shines deeper into your own body, as well as shines to “those who may enter.”
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