The Things We Can't Talk About
“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
I Corinthians 13:12
Have you ever thought about how, even though we live in a free country, there are many things that we just can’t talk about?
I’m not just talking about “religion and politics” or politically correct speech, though those are certainly a large part of it. There are many things that we cannot or should not reveal about ourselves or discuss with others.
Some health ailments, we are taught, have taboos associated with them, so don’t discuss them, even if you are concerned about the health of someone who obviously has one. Are you considering looking for a new job? Better keep quiet or be very careful. Family history should be “kept in the family.” Trade secrets are just that, secret. And so on.
There are often good reasons for these taboos, at least in many or certain circumstances. However, secrets are usually a burden, and it wears on the soul to keep them. This indicates to me that we were not designed to be closed creatures, that we are created for community—to commune in unity. Secrets isolate us, forcing us to keep part of ourselves from others.
Think about it. We nearly always keep secrets because of sin. Either we are trying to keep a sin (or something we think is a sin) quiet, or, the secret is such that someone else is likely to sin if they had the knowledge (either misuse it or judge someone inappropriately with it).
Many with secrets, deep down, long to release the secret, even if it is personally detrimental. It is a pressure inside our hearts, and the release brings freedom, even if it also brings pain.
Therein lies one of the greatest gems of the Gospel—God KNOWS us, completely and fully, there are no surprises to Him, no skeletons waiting for Him to discover. He knows us and calls us to turn to Him and find freedom and forgiveness in the intimacy of His knowledge of us His persistent love of and for us in spite of that knowledge.
Heaven is a place without secrets, and without shame. Knowledge is complete, and forgiveness more so. There is the promise of true community. As I think about it, freedom from secrets makes the thought of eternity palatable and worth anticipating. It could only be a burden otherwise.
In this world, we do need to keep secrets. There is a world to come where we don’t, and that is an treasure worth having.