Young adults and the elderly seem to share the ability to be transparent. On New Year’s Eve, a young man sat in my living room and told me about the particulars that led to him being fired from his job. The day before a relatively young man at a nursing home explained to me why he didn’t think he’d ever make it home.
Somewhere between youth and older age, we lose our vulnerability. We are good, fine, hanging in there, because we can’t imagine admitting we are overwhelmed with motherhood, discouraged in our marriage, or unable to get past the trauma.
Some things are easy to admit. I struggle to give up control. I’m not always as gentle as I should be. I worry too much.
But too often I carry the rest of my sins and struggles like a too heavy backpack. I’m afraid that if anyone sees the contents, they’ll run.
The devil loves when we suffer in silence. He loves it when we break under the weight of our shame and brokenness. And he knows what James taught: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (5:16).
Why do we choose the former when the unburdening of several years’ worth of heavy can disappear after being heard, validated, and understood? Why do we struggle to let our friends help us deal with the hurt?
Jesus bore the weight of our sin on the cross for us. We can’t carry the shame and guilt. Thankfully he doesn’t require or want us to try.
If you are drowning under the weight of something you’ve done or can’t seem to quit doing or what was done to you, find one safe person, one trusted someone, who knows Jesus and knows grace. And when you show them the backpack, my guess is they won’t run. They’ll throw it off and point you to Jesus, because someone has done the same for them.
When secrets are brought to the light, they lose their power. The writer of Hebrews put it this way: “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (12:1-3).
Jesus bore the shame so we could run our race unhindered. Put the backpack down and find a friend who won’t let you pick it back up. Then you will forever be on the lookout for anyone who is struggling beneath the weight of their burdens, and you can point them to Jesus to set them free.