As a pastor, you get to hear a lot of secrets; but how often do you get to tell your own? I don’t know if you have ever told somebody a secret, but it feels really good. Whether it’s a secret about some new direction your life is taking, or about the surprise party you’re throwing for your best friend’s birthday, or the news about a baby on the way, getting it off your chest and into the air, into someone else’s brain, is a freeing sensation.

But there are plenty of secrets that don’t sound so great. Mistakes we’ve made that we don’t want anyone else to know. Habits we’re embarrassed about. A past we’ve hidden because we fear rejection. What about those secrets? Could it feel good to let those out?

But what might happen?

I recently sat down for breakfast with a mentor of mine that I hadn’t seen for about a year and a half. I had gone through some changes in my life, and I wanted to fill him in and ask for his counsel. To do so, however, I had to tell him about mistakes I had made, choices I had made that caused me to feel really ashamed of myself.

And in that moment, the thought of sharing those secrets was absolutely no fun. In my head, I walked through all kinds of scenarios, all of them involving this man that I looked up to so much being disappointed in me, telling me he expected better, telling me I should be ashamed.

But when I actually spilled the beans, and told him about it, he looked me in the eye and told me he understood, and that he was here for me, and that he was still proud of me. And you know what else he said? This:

“There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

Whether we’re keeping secrets or hearing them, it’s true for all of us.