Today was Easter, or Resurrection day as some call it. I didn’t even know it was Easter until a couple of days ago. I don’t really keep up with holidays, not even religious holidays.

I got up and went to church, but I left early because of back pain. It was a typical Easter sermon, celebrating the resurrection of the Lord. That wasn’t really on my mind though.

Secrets were on my mind. The secrets we all keep. Secrets from our childhood, our youth, teen years, our 20’s, 30’s or whenever. The events and happenings in our lives, good and bad, that made us what we are today. Hopefully, the good outweighs the bad things we have hidden away.

The secrets that we keep hidden away probably still affect us in ways we don’t realize. Things that we keep hidden are things that probably make us suffer shame, guilt, remorse and other such feelings. And the longer we keep them hidden, the worse we feel.

I learned several years ago that keeping such secrets can be devastating. Things that happened when we were little kids affect who we are as older kids. We do things as older kids because somehow, in our warped adolescent/teen minds,  they seemed normal. I’m talking about behaviors and habits that we developed as a result of things that happened to us when we were younger. Fortunately, most of us learn and grow and realize that the way we are, and the way we act are NOT normal, and we make changes.

But those changes didn’t come before our actions affected someone else in a damaging way. As I think back about the secrets I held, and some I still hold, I realize that there are people who may be carrying shame and guilt because of things I have done before I learned to behave. And because of that, I carry guilt and pain for the things I did to others.

This causes me to believe that I don’t deserve a good life, or to have anything good happen to me. Makes me feel that perhaps I don’t deserve to be loved, or to have a family or friends, or to be successful in anything. That is what guilt and shame do to you.

Does it get better? Yes. The more I understand the nature of God the more I am able to let go of the things I keep hidden from my past. Sometimes I am required to ask for forgiveness. More times though I am required to give forgiveness. The latter is harder most of the time but sometimes confessing you did something wrong to someone and asking for forgiveness can be even more difficult. Facing someone to whom you’ve done some horrible wrong can be painful.

I was reflecting on some of those very things today; Thinking of people I may have hurt in my past. I was thinking of ways I might approach and ask forgiveness. So, I wasn’t really in a celebratory mood today.

Some people to whom I’ve offered my apologies have no recollection of ever being wronged. Some won’t even allow me to talk to them. I don’t blame them. Some were more gracious than I deserved, making me believe that people, for the most part, are mostly good.

What I’m learning is that relationships are important to God. Maybe they are more important to him than anything else. Our relationship to him is made possible through his Son Jesus. And through that same Jesus, our relationships with one another are strengthened and made whole. It is a day to day, hour to hour process. We are all being gently pushed and prodded by the Spirit of God to become better people, better friends, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters. We just have to give in little by little. I say little by little because none of us moves or make changes very easily.

So what are the secrets that are holding you back?..making you miserable, bringing you pain? Listen closely inside yourself. The Spirit of God is saying something to you, trying to get your attention about something in your life. He/She knows how to make it better. You won’t be disappointed in anything the Spirit of God does.

Happy Easter