Thursday, April 16, 2009

Secrets and Lies

Isn't that a movie title? The topic is an interesting one for me as of late, so I thought I'd attempt to sort out my thoughts about secrets.

While I'm not one who likes the whole idea of having secrets at all, I suppose there are good and bad secrets. There are secrets kept in order to bless someone with a happy surprise, like surprise 50th birthday parties. Oh, that's not a good example of a good secret, because I don't enjoy surprise parties. But some do, and that would be a good secret. There are good secrets that are kept so that someone else can reveal them at the best time for them; joyful occasions such as engagement or pregnancy. I, for one, hope that when my daughter is pregnant, she will not keep it a secret for long. But that's just me. Where I work, I am forced to keep secrets in order to not break the rule of confidentiality. You just don't tell what happens in a church setting. Period. Good or bad. But I have a hard time with secrets that cause me to lie to keep them, whether good or bad. I have found it best just not to say anything at all because I am a lousy liar anyway, but at times I have felt backed into a corner in order to lead people away from discovering a secret.

But what I'm struggling most with is other kinds of secrets. The ones where it is not clear-cut whether keeping the secret is good or bad. Currently I know two pretty big secrets that I wish I didn't know. One is about something that happened in the past and I can discern that it wouldn't do anyone any good to share it. The other seems a ridiculous secret that I can't understand the big deal about keeping it a secret. Both are secrets about things that people shouldn't be doing. They are attempting to cover up something.

Just this week my Precept study in II Samuel was all about David's big secret. He got involved in something he should not have. And instead of fessing up and asking forgiveness from God and the parties involved, he did a major cover up job. You can read the whole snowball effect of David's secret in II Sam. 11 & 12. It resulted in lies, and more lies, and plotting, and eventually murder. There were huge consequences not only for him, but there were ripples of consequences for so many others.

It seems to me that MOST secrets are to cover something up, to save face, to hide out so that people can continue to do what they want rather than what they should. These are a great burden for others who know the secret. I once had to confront a friend about a secret relationship and it didn't end well. My friend no longer has anything to do with me. There is a difference between hiding out and just sharing something in confidentiality. I have no problem keeping conversations to myself in order to be of help to someone who's struggling or just needs to vent. But I feel a sense of obligation to confront bad secrets head on. They are often just the snowflake in a huge snowball of destruction that is to come.

Well, not sure I've got it all figured out yet. Some secrets are easy to keep and some are hard. Wish I didn't have to keep ANY. Wish people didn't put themselves in the position of needing to keep bad secrets. Wish it wasn't my responsibility to respond or intervene (i.e. Nathan the prophet in II Sam.). Found a couple quotes I think are true about secret keeping:

"Nothing weighs on us so heavily as a secret." Jean de LaFontaine, French poet

"Where secrecy or mystery begins, vice or roguery is not far off." Samuel Johnson

"Three can keep a secret if two are dead." Benjamin Franklin


At April 16, 2009 at 1:39 PM , Blogger Keith said...

oooohhhh.... a secret, just whisper it in my ear, I won't tell anyone.........

At April 16, 2009 at 1:44 PM , Blogger Cathey said...

Wouldn't be a secret then, would it?

At April 20, 2009 at 1:03 PM , Blogger Rachel said...

I totally agree...and don't tell me because I am one of those that has to tell at least TWO other people...One's usually my mom, the other is Michael. I hate when someone tells me something and I know it's wrong, but they ask that I not share it with any one...I always wonder WWJD?


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