Almost all of us have them, or have had them at one time, in one form or another. Secrets we don’t want others to see. Secrets that are so embarrassing and hurtful that we sometimes tell ourselves those secrets aren’t even ours; they’re someone else’s; we just THINK they’re ours. Then we stand by and gasp in horror as we hear how someone we know and care about has fallen from grace; has hurt someone they love in such a bad way we don’t know how they’ll recover from it.
Then we go back to our own secret lives and say…but that’s different. I’m not really hurting anyone by doing this thing or that. After all, who really knows about it anyway? And as long as no one else knows, except maybe one or two other people who won’t say anything anyway, it’s not hurting anyone, right?
Those secrets can be so many things. As simple as shoplifting and never getting caught when you were a teenager. Cheating on a test in high school or college. Hitting another car when no one was around and telling your parents or your spouse you came out to the parking lot and found it like that.
Or much more serious secrets. Cheating on your spouse, or cheating with someone else’s spouse. Illegal drug use or even dealing. Secret drinking or even alcoholism. Embezzlement or other stealing from your workplace. Pornography. Prostitution. Failure to pay your bills because your money is going to gambling or other illicit activities. The list of hidden lives can go on and on, and many people may have even more than one secret life they’ve buried.
On the outside everything looks perfect. We go to work as usual, and usually put on a really good front. We take care of our families and go to our children’s sports events and concerts. Go out with friends. Go to church, sometimes even being in a position of ministry. In fact, because we do so much good, we sometimes don’t even consider that those hidden lives are wrong.
But if your spouse knew what was going on behind his/her back, most likely that spouse wouldn’t be your spouse much longer. How would your friends and family feel if you were suddenly arrested for dealing drugs, selling pornography, or dabbling in prostitution? If your employer discovered what you’d been doing behind his back, do you think you’d still have that job; do you think you’d not have to face the consequences, including possible jail time? If your family knew the bills weren’t being paid, how would they feel, knowing their lives were only an inch or two away from being turned upside down and their ending up on the street?
Think about it. If those lives have to be hidden, doesn’t it mean that maybe, just MAYBE, there’s something wrong? We think no one sees our hidden lives, and we’re quite happy about that. Relieved, even. Because we like to keep our little secrets, don’t we? After all, who are we really hurting as long as no one else knows what’s going on?
We even think we’ll never be found out, and that we can end that hidden life any time we want to. But we don’t. Because it’s too much fun. It’s a break from the boring routine life has become; it makes us feel better about ourself; or it’s a way to potentially make some extra much-needed cash we won’t have to share with anyone, or pay taxes on!
But we’re wrong. Someone does see those hidden lives….has seen them from the time that hidden life, or lives, started. Our conscience sees them, knows they’re there, knows what we’ve been hiding is wrong. But we tell it to be quiet, because we know what we’re doing, and we KNOW we can handle it.
Those hidden lives only get stronger the longer we live them; the longer we try to keep them hidden. And sooner or later, they’re going to break out, and stop being hidden. Because they will destroy the life we’re currently trying to live, or make everyone believe we’re living. The world will then see what’s been hidden, and then what will we do?
The things we keep hidden, whether they’re thoughts in our mind we don’t want to acknowledge, or something we’ve done in our past that we hope no one ever discovers, or an entire other life we’re living in secret…these things will eventually destroy from within. And as they destroy us, they will also destroy the ones we love.
What are you going to do with your hidden lives? Are you going to keep trying to live within them as an escape from your real life, or will this be the day, or the week, or the month that you finally kill that hidden life, and bury it forever in the sea of forgetfulness? Never to be remembered, retrieved, or resuscitated.
The decision is yours. The choice is yours.
You have so much to gain, or everything to lose.
Author’s Note: This is not aimed at anyone we know. It’s a piece I have been working on for a year, and felt this was the time to post it. If it touches someone’s heart, please act accordingly.