We all have secrets and things of which we are ashamed. It may be something dishonest we did at work, a sexual sin we committed, an addiction to alcohol, drugs, porn, or something we don’t want anyone to find out. On the flip side, this dirty little secret could be something we could not help. We may have been victims of sexual abuse or a witness to something to which we were sworn to secrecy. We all have dirty little secrets.
Is there a safe place where we can share these things? Is there a place with people who will love us despite what we have done or experienced? That place should be the church. Unfortunately, some churches are known for being judgmental. Pastors have preached that we shouldn’t be soft on sin, but many Christians have gone to an extreme. However, loving people who have a “dirty little secret” doesn’t mean we condone what they do. Many want help, but the only help some churches provide is telling them to stop. They already know they need to stop. What they need to know is that you are going to love them through their recovery.
What is your church doing to provide a loving and safe environment for people to tell their secrets and know you will still love them? Do you have programs to help? Are the people trained to go above and beyond to welcome EVERYONE who walks in the doors? Do the people intentionally try to build authentic relationships, or do they say shallow things and keep their distance?
For the last few years (whether I was on church staff or in the pew), I have longed to be in a church that loves and helps those with dirty little secrets. If you are one of those of whom I speak, I believe you also want a loving community who will treat you well despite your “dirty little secret”.