From Henri Nouwen

Bringing Our Secrets into the Light

We all have our secrets: thoughts, memories, feelings that we keep to ourselves. Often we think, “If people knew what I feel or think, they would not love me.” These carefully kept secrets can do us much harm. They can make us feel guilty or ashamed and may lead us to self-rejection, depression, and even suicidal thoughts and actions.

One of the most important things we can do with our secrets is to share them in a safe place, with people we trust. When we have a good way to bring our secrets into the light and can look at them with others, we will quickly discover that we are not alone with our secrets and that our trusting friends will love us more deeply and more intimately than before. Bringing our secrets into the light creates community and inner healing. As a result of sharing secrets, not only will others love us better but we will love ourselves more fully.


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  1. Jean

    Sorry, Linea, but,my secrets, the really deep ones, I just cannot reveal, ever. It may be good for some people, but for me,no.

  2. Jean

    I do have one true friend that know I can trust and that friend is my Jesus. He knows all about me and He listens and He hearsme and He forgives me.

  3. Linea

    Jean, I used to think the same way as you. Then I found that Jesus was calling me into relationships with others that would let me share with them as we developed trust in each other. As we realized that we were recipients of God’s grace and forgiven, we could share together things that had been burdens for us. The burden lightens in the sharing. I believe this is an act of God. God has created us needing relationships with others and with himself. I hope you will experience this some day.

  4. rick

    Nice sentiment, to bad it isn’t reality!

  5. Linea

    Rick – it is reality for me.

  6. Jean

    You know, Linea, II have had people who were supposed to be my dearest friends in the past, who just could not keep a secret. I also have been judged many, many times. Jesus doesn’t judge me, but he does forgive.

  7. Linea

    Jean, I am sorry you were hurt by your friends and judged by others. It hurts.

    I too, would not trust just anyone with my past history or secrets. The trust has to be firmly established. And understanding that we are forgiven by God frees us to trust since what God thinks matters more than what others think of us.

    I know who I am in God’s eyes. “What can mere mortals do to me?” the Psalmist asks.

    In the sense that Nouwen writes about here, the sharing of ourselves, even our hurts and fears and weaknesses within a loving community does help us to love ourselves and others more fully.

  8. Peg

    I think that it is a real shame that our life experiences have brought us to that place where we are unable to trust. I know I have been there. The sad thing is that the place we feel most vulnerable to gossip and judgement is in the church or amongst Christian friends.

    You are right Jean that Jesus is the one you can trust and by looking to him for forgiveness or grace should never be diminished. I also believe that God wants to ease that pain of past hurts and sometimes He just wants to put his arms around us and hold us and comfort us. Sometimes He may send someone into our live to become “Jesus with skin on” for us and to give us those hugs that God longs for us. Sometimes we need to be vulnerable enough to accept it. Sometimes we need to step out in faith and allow someone to become our safe place.