Deuteronomy 29:29 – The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children for ever, that we may follow all the words of this law. (NIV)
I have a good friend who is a counsellor, and he has a great saying: "Our secrets make us sick." We all carry secrets in our hearts of moments when we made mistakes that we later regret. The burden of such guilt can cause us to be depressed about the past and anxious concerning the future. I've been a pastor for over twenty-one years, and no matter on which side of the Atlantic I've been ministering, people are the same all over. Guilt can grind away at our souls and diminish our happiness. Shame can sever us from God and our church.
I'm glad that I'm a Presbyterian and a part of the Reformed tradition. It means that whenever I get plagued by regret at doing something wrong, or angry at myself for disappointing others, I can freely and directly come to Christ with my inward issues and release them to God. By spiritually transferring them to Him, I feel released of the burden and totally appreciative of the grace that I experience. It makes me want to learn from the situation and try to do better next time. These secret things belong to God, and my spirit is no longer oppressed by them.
For some of us, a good confessor or a wise counsellor can bring us to this reality, too. The gifts of discernment that have been given to some professionals enable them to bring secrets gently to the surface, deal with the issues, and discover solutions. Hope and healing can bring about a new lease on life and a better understanding of the reasons why we make mistakes and what we can do to avoid them. In the whole process, secrets are released and given to God. Absolution and resolution are given back in return.
We need to know that whatever any of us is carrying in our hearts at this time, God can embrace the burden and liberate the weary spirit. Confession is good for the soul, and whether it is done quietly and personally to God or professionally and diligently with a trained counsellor, the results can be the same — freedom from the past and faith in the future.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You died for our sins, so You know every mistake that we have made. You bore the burden of our guilt so that we could be restored to God's love. Encourage us to seek help and healing through confession and counselling for the things that weary our souls, burden our hearts, and unsettle our minds. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.