One interesting development in my years as a Pastor is visiting people in their homes. In the early years, people wanted to invite my wife and me into their homes and share their lives with us. Now, we rarely receive a request to enter someone’s home, and when we do, it is never on the spur of the moment.
I know the biggest reason for this change is the desire to keep things hidden. If we come into your home on short notice, then we will see how people really live. Things might be a mess, items might be out in the open the family doesn’t want me to see, and there has not been time to adequately prep everyone on what to say and do.
Let me be completely honest: Everyone (and by that, I mean every single human being) has something they are trying to hide in some area of their life. It can be the remnants of past failures and poor lifestyle choices. It can also be the current struggles and messes they are dealing with daily. But unfortunately, there are parts of our lives we keep for only a select few, and even then, we rarely talk about it.
One struggle is for the followers of Jesus to bring their issues into the light. Sin and shame only grow in the darkness. The longer the past is undealt with, the heavier the burden becomes. Current struggles do not go away by tucking them in the closet when people visit. The only way to rid ourselves of our problems is to bring them out and address them.
First, we need to be honest with ourselves and admit what we are hiding. Then we must take it to God and confess our struggles to him. Then we might have to go to some trusted friends to help us overcome the pain we feel and forge a new way forward. Finally, we need to keep the lights on and not allow the darkness to return.
One of our most prominent instincts is to hide our past failures and current struggles. Unfortunately, that is not the path to a better future. Only by dealing with the things we are trying to keep hidden will they finally be removed from our lives. The dirt swept under the rug is still there, and it is time to deal with it.