One of the most important moments of my spiritual life was when I sat down with a longtime friend and said, “I don’t want to have any secrets anymore.” I told him everything I was most ashamed of. No wax. I told him about my jealousies, my cowardice, how I hurt my wife with my anger. I told him about my history with money and my history with sex. I told him about deceit and regrets that keep me up at night. I felt vulnerable because I was afraid that I was going to be outside the circle, to lose connection with him. Much to my surprise, he did not even look away.
I will never forget his next words.
“John,” he said. “I have never loved you more than I love you right now.” The very truth about me that I thought would drive him away became a bond that drew us closer together. He then went on to speak with me about secrets he had been carrying.
I can only be loved to the extent that I am known.
If I keep part of my life secret from you, you may tell me you love me. But inside I think that you would not love me if you knew the whole truth about me. I can only receive love from you to the extent that I am known by you.
I cannot be fully loved unless I am fully known.
To be fully known and fully loved is the most healing gift one human being can give another. James writes, “Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.” We are all forgiven, recovering sinners, and no one can be secure in a relationship if they are loved only because they are smart, pretty, strong, or successful. Sin isolates us, and sin and isolation will make us sick in our soul and even our body. Confession and then prayer, connectedness to each other and to God, ushers in the Spirit and helps bring healing. — Ortberg, John. 2009. The Me I Want to Be: Becoming God’s Best Version of You. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.