Twenty years later, Bill Clinton assumed that what he did in private would remain secret. But what happened with Monica Lewinsky behind closed doors became public record resulting in the second Presidential impeachment in history. In his autobiography Clinton confessed, “The question of secrets is one I have thought a lot about over the years. … Secrets can be an awful burden to bear, especially if some sense of shame is attached to them … Of course, I didn’t begin to understand all this back when I became a secret-keeper. …I was always reluctant to discuss with anyone the most difficult parts of my personal life.”
The Wikileaks secrets were first released in 2010. Most of the documents appeared to be trivial and petty. Some of them serious. All of it stemmed from words written and spoken in secret places that the participants never dreamed would be read or heard by anyone else. But what was said in private is now public.
Edward Snowden released classified National Security Documents to the mainstream media in 2013. Facing possible prosecution in the United States, he continues to hide somewhere in Russia.
Jesus warned us that our secrets would become public. He said, “But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops.” And again, He said, “For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light.”
Our conduct in secret is the most important part of our life. What we do and say when we are alone, when we think no one else is looking, that is the part of our life that will ultimately determine our success or failure. Jesus constantly encouraged his followers to focus on what they did in secret. “When you pray,” He said, “go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” And, “when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
Jesus taught that those who say and do things privately that they do not want others to know about are like cups that are only washed on the outside. A slimy green scum continues to grow on the inside. He compared people who keep up a public image that is not consistent with their secret conduct to marble tombs in graveyards. They appear whitewashed and clean on the outside, but inside they are filled with rotting flesh and decayed bones.
When we do what is right in private, what is seen in public will take care of itself. The most important part of our lives is the secret part.