“Sure, honey. Why?” I reply.
“I am afraid in the dark. I see things and I think there are monsters in my closet,” he replies.
“Okay, dear. But let me show you, there are no monsters. See (as we peer behind the closet door and the light breaks into the dark closet). No monsters or goblins or skeletons in the closet.”
“Thanks, Mom, but please leave a light on.”
A simple conversation with my son when he was around four or five years old. A conversation that has happened in more than one house on more than one occasion. Darkness breeds this feeling of uneasiness or unrest. When the lights go out you cannot see everything, only splashes of movements and waves of shadows. Everything is not exposed in darkness, but rather only in light. Little kids and even big kids prefer to have a small light on while they sleep so that nothing can surprise them in the dark. Light penetrates that feeling of uneasiness when you can see everything for what it is and not have something unexpected happen while it is dark. Light gives direction. Darkness shields paths and blackens clarity.
I was thinking about light and dark and skeletons in the closet. We all have skeletons in the closet. Sure there are not a bag of bones lying behind the winter boots or tucked away with the summer clothing bins. But there are skeletons. I am not talking about the closet in your bedroom, but rather the closet of your heart. There are skeletons lying in there, skeletons of past mistakes, regrets, disappointments, hurts, anger and so forth. Skeletons are remains of what was. The skeletons of deceased bodies once held organs, blood, veins and were covered by skin. Now, they are simple remnants or remains of what was. Many of us have broken relationships, lost friendships, circumstances and events that have come and gone and all we have left are the skeletal remains.
Those skeletons can say a lot about what lies in our heart.
Skeletons are the secrets in our heart. We allow them to dwell there and remain there. The skeletal bones have cobwebs growing on them, because we have never taken time to clean up and sweep out the lining of our hearts. We have just allowed the bones to take permanent resident there. We leave it in the dark, because light would expose what was really lurking inside the walls of our heart. For example, the woman who had a man betray her and leave her for a younger woman, may have resentment, anger, rejection, brokenness and disappointment lying on the floor of her heart in closed doors. She thinks she has it all together and on most occasions she displays a woman who does. However, when stress mounts and another broken promise or expectation plays out in her life – her reactions may not be one of “self control,” but rather of anger and bitterness. She thinks, “Why did I behave that way? That is not like me?”
The truth is out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12:34)
Like my son who needed a light to see what was in the closet, in the moments when we “lose the habitual self control” and stuff comes flying out of our emotions, right smack in that moment when the skeleton has been exposed. And skeletons do not like light, because when light hits the dark everything is seen, nothing is hidden.
Secrets are like skeletons. Think about rumors and secrets that people, unfortunately, pass around from one person to another. The story about someone else that goes around can never be confirmed or denied; there is always this hint or atmosphere of maybe they did or maybe there did not do it. We can never be certain, we rest without being sure as to what we know is true or not! However, when the main character of this “story (aka: rumor)” finds out what has been said (the skeleton) he or she can expose the truth! Light brings truth. Darkness breeds secrets.
“For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light.” (Mark 4:22 NLT)
Friends, we need to turn on the light and examine what is in the closets of our hearts and minds. What skeletons have we allowed to dwell there? What bones do we need to clean up and move out? Next time you react and think, “I can’t believe I did that or I can’t believe I said that. That is not who I am.” Stop and remember, that out of your heart the mouth speaks. Yes you said it or yes, you did it. Instead of moving on and quickly closing the closet door so you can hide the skeletal bones again, ask the Holy Spirit to show you what needs light exposure so that you can rid the skeleton in the closet. God desires us to be free and to be healed. The only way to do both is to expose what is hidden and exterminate the roots.