Thursday, March 29, 2007

Family Secrets—sweeping the past under the rug

Last night as I watched the news, I learned that Winona Judd’s husband was arrested for sexual abuse with a child under thirteen. I thought, how tragic; why this epidemic of sexual abuse and exploitation? I wondered how sad that the Judd family has to face its sin in such a public manner. What about the child? I thought a little bit more, at least it can’t be swept under the rug, and probably the public exposure should be viewed as a blessing.

Families have secrets, families have a past, sometimes they are unseemly. We like to keep certain things about our past secret because we fear it would embarrass us; we would appear less to our fellowman. Our response is to sweep it under the rug but we continue to see the bump under the rug and it bothers us. We keep sweeping more under the rug and pretty soon someone in the family trips on the bump. They get hurt but we keep right on sweeping.

Along the way, a family member gets tired of seeing the bump under the rug and gets tired of seeing people tripping over the bump, falling and getting hurt. This family member gets tired of seeing fellow family members lying on the floor wounded, being judged for "their" failure when in reality they tripped and fell over all the garbage that has been swept under the rug for generations.

So, this truth seeking family member finally picks up the rug to see what’s there. They are chastised for seeking the truth and are quickly labeled “the problem”. The person who wants to find out the truth about the garbage under the rug is labeled a trouble maker, the problem, just because they desire the truth.

We all can act like we are waltzing through life, but a day comes when we must deal with our past or our family secrets. Look at King David. A king, powerful, anointed by God, distracted from his real job (being king he should have been in battle with his soldiers) but he stays back, becomes a peeping Tom and because he is king, orders Bathsheba to his bedroom, you know the rest. If not, read I Samuel 16-I Kings 2:11, I Chronicles 11-29). King David, forgiven as he was, still suffered the consequences of his sins.

Two things we need to learn from this: our sin will be found out AND we need to deal with it. It happened to David with the Prophet Nathan and it will happen to us. If it doesn’t happen in this life, it will be revealed on Judgment Day.

We, as a people, cannot ignore our personal or collective past. I see too many people who have tripped over the bump under the rug and are lying on the floor of life deeply hurt and wounded. Pick up the rug; deal with the stuff under the rug. Stop labeling the Truth Seeker, the trouble maker. We need to get rid of our pride and our over inflated image of ourselves.

Life is miserable when we won’t face our past and our sin. I know from experience.

Practical advice: We need to pray for courage to stand up to, address, and face our sin and our family’s sin. We need to stop making the Truth Seeker the problem. We need to address the past honestly and live with expectation remembering what the Apostle Paul said, “God will do more than we can ever imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). Our goal should be forgiveness and restoration, not revenge. We need to humbly thank the Truth Seeker for his courage. What will you be, a sweeper or a Truth Seeker? We must do the right thing. Come Holy Spirit, help us.

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