Are you hoping you can take some of your secrets to the grave with you?

I have stuff from my childhood that I wanted to carry to my grave. I wonder how many other weary souls are now going through life struggling under the weight of their secret shame. It’s hard work – keeping up with a life of shadows and subterfuge. And there seems to be no way out.

The industry of shame thrives on things that we feel forced to keep hush-hush about. We get trapped in the illusion we try to project.

It doesn’t matter what the incident was or how it trivial it may be when compared to other people’s experiences; shame is not sold by the gram. Shame is shame. And it hurts us all.

I remember one night when I said those words to myself; “I will take this to my grave.”

I’d been thinking of all the things I’d never told anyone about for so many years – things from my childhood.

I’d never dared to speak to anybody about those things before, but I had rehearsed it in my head countless times, imagined what it would be like to have someone listen with compassion and tell me that it’s okay now.

Why keep things secret? Because of fear – of being judged, of being deemed unworthy – and pride. What would people think of me if they found out?

This resolution kept me from love. Shame, the tyrant that it is, keeps you from reaching out, even though love is within reach.

Why keep things secret? Because of fear – of being judged, of being deemed unworthy – and pride. 

That night, I felt I was coming to the end of my rope. I needed another option.

And that’s when I thought about what Jesus said: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

Because He has come, life is now an option. But I was still pacing around somewhere between death and life. I wasn’t dead – I’d chosen eternal life – but I wasn’t embracing the full life that Jesus offered.

But Jesus said that He has come, and I must leave my old life – everything about it – behind (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I must walk away from the grave. 

While I held my secrets close to me, I also longed for someone to tell me that it’s okay now – that I’m still worthy of love.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Only God’s word has the power to declare if any of us is worthy of love; and He proved it, sending His son to the Cross, that in His death and resurrection we might have life. And You need to hear it from Him for yourself: Shame’s grip on us is over (Romans 8:1). We stand uncondemned.

The love and power of God is the only antidote that can reverse the death sting that is shame.

That night, I had to learn to put aside the shame that I had grown so accustomed to and trade it in for love. To break out of the clutches of shame and its chorus of insults, I learnt I had to continually choose to listen to the voice that could break the curses. I needed to hear Him speak.

The love and power of God is the only antidote that can reverse the death sting that is shame.

I called, He answered. And shame fled.

The next thing I had to do was to open my life up to people who could be trusted. It wasn’t the easiest nor the most instinctive thing for me to do – but I needed people around me – people who would display God’s love and remind me of the truth when I need it the most (2 Corinthians 6:11-13).

Several months later, I stood in the midst of a huge crowd at a Christian conference. And I will always remember the roar from the crowd when we sang this line: “And as You speak, a hundred billion failures disappear”

The roar of voices and shouts of victory from the 20,000 others in the crowd reminded me that I have never been alone – not in my failures; and certainly not in my victory.

Who else but God could pull off such a prison break? Who else could cancel our failures, drive away our shame and give us new life?

“And as You speak
A hundred billion failures disappear
Where You lost Your life so I could find it here
If You left the grave behind You

So will I” 

– So Will I (100 Billion X) by Hillsong United

Don’t bear your shame to your grave. He died so you don’t have to. Lay it on His. Then leave that grave behind.