In many ways a pastor’s life and a therapist’s life are similar. We are each entrusted with the confidences of others; and we keep their secrets. This “containing of their secret” provides relief to them because the keeping of the secret was killing their soul. It can prove to be weighty for us as we hear of shame and evil that we must now contain. This is part of our job. It is part of how we function as agents of healing. We are safe containers of the hidden.
There is a very real pitfall here, because many times we try to become the containers of our own secrets. These self-serving secrets will destroy us the same way our parishioners’’ or clients’ secrets were destroying them. We are not designed to contain our own secrets. Our psyches simply can’t do it. We stuff them down and then their memory pops up out of nowhere to haunt us; sometimes years later, nearly always with messy results.
Please don’t be fooled, secrets are addictive and get progressively worse. They come out of our desire to meet our own needs of security, acceptance, and significance. They flow when we turn inwards to meet and protect these needs, and they are always a denial of God’s Spirit of Truth.
Self-serving secrets come in many forms.
Secrets will kill you. Find someone to talk to them about it. Do a fearless moral inventory of truth telling and make sure you’ve dusted the corners. You will feel better after you have done so.
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