He Who Traffics In Secrets…
Judges 14:6, “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, so that he tore him (a young lion) as one tears a young goat though he hand nothing in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done.”
Tiger Woods. He will probably go down in history as one of the premier golfers of all time. His achievements on the golf course are the stuff of legends. Unfortunately, his very public scandal in 2009 will also probably be remembered long after he has officially hung up his spikes. Most of you probably remember that sad chapter of his life. I don’t want to belabor this blog with the details of his fall; so, I’ll just get to the point. Tiger Woods had apparently been leading a double life. Although married, he was conducting numerous affairs that he had been keeping secret from both his wife and his adoring fan base. Truly, a tragic chapter in the story of one of America’s most beloved athletes.
Secrets. We all have them. As long as we are breathing on this side of eternity, there is not a one of us who is exempt from that struggle with human duplicity. In some measure we are all hypocrites. The only real question is one of degree. For some people their hypocrisy is intentional. They know what they are doing is wrong. But they don’t care. For others, their hypocrisy could almost be regarded as incidental. It arises more from their fallen humanity than a spirit of outright rebellion. The truth is that we all have those areas of life where our profession and practice don’t match. We all struggle with saying one thing but then sometimes doing another. Here’s how the Bible describes it, “There is none righteous; not even one.” We all fail. We all fall. We are all flawed.
Samson was no different from you or I (neither is Mr. Woods for that matter). None of us has earned the right to point the finger at him. Samson sinned. And we sin. In that regard we are the same. My hope is that we might learn something from his mistakes, that his own failures might help us in our own walk of faith. From early on we discover that Samson was a man who trafficked in secrecy. Most specifically, his lying took the form of omission. The problem wasn’t what he said. His struggle with honesty was all the things he didn’t say. The things that he left out. The details that he forget to mention. The events that were strangely forgotten. With Samson you never got the whole truth and nothing but the truth. There were just too many secrets in his life.
Consider the case in point. Samson is on his way to visit his future bride. Along the way he is attacked by a lion. Now, this next part of the story is truly incredible. Samson, empowered by the Spirit of the Lord, grabs the lion and rips him apart. Unbelievable! If that had been me, I would have told everyone. That lion’s head would be mounted on my wall. Television interviews. Book deals. Movies. Endorsements. Action figures. That is simply too amazing an event to keep it to myself. But Samson tells no one. In particular he says nothing to his parents, a pattern that is going to continue throughout the rest of his life. He tended to keep things secret from the people who loved him the most.
Why didn’t he tell his parents? We can’t be certain but I imagine that in his mind the reasons were valid. Perhaps he felt some measure of shame? Perhaps he was already weary of their advice? Maybe his reluctance to share his life with them was evidence of a much larger problem? My experience in counseling is that people who are open and transparent usually have nothing to hide. Generally, the more guarded the person, the greater the number of skeletons and hurts that are buried hiding in their closets.
Let me encourage you to develop an open life with people who love you and with whom you have established trust. Secrets, whether they be sin, fears, or worries, eat us up from the inside out. If you are struggling, don’t hide it. Let someone you trust know about it. God created us to live in fellowship and community. Too often we in the Church today have developed two very bad habits. The first is the duplicity that so many of us hide. The second is our refusal to be real and honest with each other. We cling tightly to our secrets and all the while we scream out on the inside to let them go. Stop trafficking in secrets. Stop hiding the struggles. Find someone you trust. Let that person in. And let the secrets out. It might just be the very thing that saves you in the long run.