“Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Secrets. My college-age niece taught me this game a few years back. Everyone in the circle slaps both knees twice while chanting “secrets”, followed by a clap, “secrets”, clap, “secrets”, then lifting both hands in the air as if to shush a child dramatically, whisper “shhhhhh.”

This silly little group chant would be followed by one person in the room coughing up the latest gossip and sharing it with everyone in the circle. But, the catch was that said gossip must be a true fact you’ve been holding back as a secret about yourself.

I was amazed at how much resistance I felt to join in this little game. Secrets. What is it about secrets that makes them so terrifying to share with others but also feels so terrible to keep them inside? It’s like a trap. And why in the world is Jesus telling us to keep things secrets with him?

In this section on practical religion as a part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructs his disciples to choose secrecy in giving, praying, and fasting. Three times in this section Jesus uses the exact same phrase, “your Father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:4, 6, 18). Jesus is definitely implying that keeping secrets is a good spiritual discipline.

If Jesus were sitting here today I would want to ask him, what’s the big deal about secrets? Today, I challenge you to ask him yourself. Ask him, “Jesus, what do I need to know about secrets and why they are helpful in my life with you?”

By Yvonne Biel