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The Warmest Day [**]

Ever kept a secret you shouldn’t have? Perhaps it was a secret about something you did or wanted to do that you didn’t want others to know about. Perhaps it was something someone else did that you knew was wrong. Often times we are tempted to keep these things hidden deep inside, especially after we have lied about them! Once we lie about something, the truth is locked away like an encrypted launch code for a nuclear rocket. A lot of internal red tape is required to decrypt it. Even when you want to tell the truth, your pride may forbid you from doing so, causing an inner battle.

When I was younger, between eight and ten years old I think, my family had a set of six dining room chairs with built-in seat cushions. There were only five in my family so the sixth chair sat alone in the living room. One day I chanced to come across a retractable razor blade. I had used blades and knives before and I was generally safe with them, but on this particular afternoon the spirit of mischief got into me. Without any real reason behind it, I felt compelled to make two long cuts in the cushion of the spare dining room chair. By the time I finished the second cut, I was overwhelmed with a sense of “Uh, oh! What did I just do?” It was too late by then but I quickly put the blade back where it belonged and ran outside to get as far away from the scene of the crime as possible. 

I had a lot of fun with other kids in the neighborhood that day and I quickly forgot about the whole incident. That evening, our family gathered around the dinner table as we always did. As we began to dig into the food after prayer, one of my parents casually asked all three of us boys if we knew anything about the damaged chair. Since my brothers were innocent, they quickly conceded that they knew nothing about it. My answer took a little longer to come out because the memory and guilt of what I had done suddenly rushed upon me like the flood from a breached dam. Before I could speak, I had to compose myself. If I had spoken immediately, my stuttering surely would have revealed my guilt. I did my best to sound like my innocent brothers when I finally spoke. I was sure that my face must have been as red as a beet and my voice as crackly as a phonograph, but I somehow fooled them! My parents’ accepted our answers and dropped the issue. We all went on eating and talking about other things! Everyone dropped the issue, that is, except for me. My food that night had no flavor, and I felt like the room was heated to 85 degrees F. Toward the very end of the meal, my parents brought the chair up again. I stupidly suggested that perhaps it had been torn by some accident. My dad pointed out that it was cuts and not rips, but they still didn’t seem to suspect me. My foolish attempts to make excuses, however, caused me to squirm all the more on the inside.

After dinner, we all went to the living room to watch a sitcom on the television. Somehow, the living room seemed to be even warmer than the dining room. I sat on the couch between my dad and one of my brothers. As I sat and stared at the T.V., all I could think about was that chair! Everyone was laughing except for me. I was crawling within my skin and was sure that the temperature was approaching 100! I felt myself sinking into my own mind. I was completely losing touch with my surroundings. Someone could have asked me my name and I wouldn’t have been able to tell them. I doubt I would have heard them ask even if they were inches from my face. Everyone could have gone to bed and I wouldn’t have noticed. The lie was eating at me! It was sucking me under.

In many ways, I felt like an unseen tangle of seaweed was sucking me slowly beneath the surface of the water. Then, with a burst of courage that seemed to come from outside of me, I suddenly exclaimed, “Dad, I need to tell you something.”

Before I conclude my story, I want to share this passage from scripture. In this passage, David describes what it was like for him when he was keeping a secret from God.

When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.

For day and night
your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.

Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the LORD “—
and you forgave
the guilt of my sin.

Psalm 32:3-5 NIV

Believe it or not, my story has the same conclusion that David’s does. Oh, I got punished alright. It was very painful indeed, but it was one of the best punishments I had ever received. By confessing to my dad, I was able to finally get free from the lie. The room temperature dropped back to 72 and I could laugh again! It was finished!

What secrets are you keeping from your family, your friends, your spouse, or God? Perhaps it is time to free yourself from the lie that is weighing on you like a sack of bricks.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9 NIV

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