The Hidden Life Is Not the Godly Life

My children are all adults now, but I remember when the younger two went through a period where they liked my wife to play hide and seek with them. It was a fun game that was made more fun by the fact that my two youngest were such lousy hiders—like all little kids are. They loved to hide in plain view. They loved to get caught.  They giggled when you got near them. They hid in the very last place my wife hid in. And of course, they wanted all the lights on when they played. Basically, every rule that makes a good hider they violated.

It’s okay because it’s just a game of hide and seek.

Too often in marriage counseling I encounter the couple that hides things from each other. In fact, occasionally they want to include me in their deceit. “Now don’t tell my wife this, but….” Some couples hide things big and small from each other. It’s one reason why their marriage is a mess. They’re adversaries, not teammates. But other couples, many couples, hide small things from each other. It’s the belief that a small lie is not harmful to a relationship.

I see it in couples I counsel, but I also see it in myself. In my first pastoral position I was an assistant pastor in a suburb of Denver. My wife and I normally went to bed at the same time, but occasionally, as we were about to get into bed, I would tell my wife I needed to do something quick in the home office. I would do it and then get in bed.

When my wife would ask what I was doing, I would say something non-committal.

Want to know what I was doing? It’s probably not what you think. I was reading my Bible. I would go to the office, open my Bible, read a verse or maybe two, close it, and go back to the bedroom. I was ashamed that I was an assistant pastor that had managed to go the entire day without reading the Bible at all. I didn’t want my wife to know I was that kind of guy; that some days I didn’t read God’s Word. It was hiding and it was wrong, so I eventually told her.

I didn’t want her to know who I really was. But choosing dishonesty pushed us farther apart, not closer together.

The hidden life, no matter how small, is not the godly life.

In a passage where the Apostle John talks about God’s essence being light and uses that to encourage us to walk in the light, he drops this.

1 John 1:7 (ESV) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

We would expect in this passage that John would say that walking in the light leads to greater fellowship with God, and that’s true (1 John 1:9). But isn’t it surprising that this passage says walking in the light leads to greater fellowship with other believers?

Walking in the light means not hiding or evading. it means being honest about who and what I am. Dishonesty moves us away from people. Walking in the light moves us closer. So no small amount of hiding is insignificant.

The recent revelations about Ravi Zacharias have saddened us all. But one part of it didn’t surprise me. When the board examined the initial accusations against him in 2016, it’s been widely reported that he had 3 phones and wouldn’t turn any of them over to the board. It happens over and over again with unfaithful spouses. A spouse that doesn’t let the other spouse see their phone is a bad sign. What is he hiding on his phone?

That’s the dramatic example, but what small, seemingly insignificant thing are you hiding from your spouse? Is it the pre-supper Big Mac (probably the greatest sandwich American ingenuity has ever developed)? Is it a conversation you had with one of your kids? Is it an Amazon purchase? Is it a traffic ticket? Is it a show that you stream until she walks in the room? Every choice to hide is a choice to move further from your spouse, not closer.

Our God is light and he wants us to walk in the light (1 John 1:5-2:2). Come out into the light. You’ll enjoy more genuine fellowship with other believers–especially those closest to you.