“If our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.”1 John 3:20
I was in middle school when I heard some words that struck me deeply.
My friend’s mother was driving us home from a trip to the Indiana Dunes and was listening to a sermon on the radio. Except for the few seconds when we would pause from our chatter in the back seat, I was not paying any attention to what my friend’s mom was listening to.
But during one of the brief pauses in our conversation, I heard the minister say certain words. For reasons I am still unsure of, his words penetrated my heart:
“There are no complete secrets in your life. You may have succeeded in hiding something for your entire life from every person that you know. But you have not hidden it from Jesus. The person who matters most knows most.”
While I can’t recall the rest of the sermon, I have often thought about those powerful words: You have not hidden it from Jesus. The person who matters most knows most.
From the moment I heard them, I was no longer attentive to my friend in the back seat; instead, I strained to hear more.
It was the first time I had considered the idea that I am totally known. Even now, when I let the reality sink in, those are impactful words. They mean that not the slightest part of myself is unknown to Jesus, in this moment—or ever.
He knows even more than my husband or my trusted friend or my children. No one knows me the way God does. Nothing about me is hidden from Him. Even more amazing is the fact that He loves me regardless of all He knows.
In many ways, this idea might appear as basic doctrine. Yet its implications are far from simple. If we know anything at all about human beings, it’s that we are complex creatures. Each individual person has layers upon layers of thoughts and experiences and memories that only scratch the surface of who we are.
And God knows each and every intricate detail.
It has been said that one of the great longings of the human heart is to know ourselves and to be known. Who are we? What are our deepest thoughts? What are we looking for? What are our truest motives?
The questions are endless, and only God knows the answers to them all.
The acknowledgement that nothing is hidden from God should bring with it the consolation that we can turn to Him in whatever pain we are feeling, even when it comes from a place of shame or regret.
There are times when a thought might surface from somewhere inside of me, accompanied by confusing emotions. Perhaps it is envy towards a friend or family member that causes me to wrestle with guilt. Or maybe it is a sense of loneliness when I imagine that no one truly understands something I am going through.
In these moments, I can remember that God already knows my thoughts and feelings. Not only is there no sense in keeping them from Him, there is no peace in keeping them to myself.
It is Jesus who brings the peace that no other human being can, and so it is to Him I should go.
Remembering that nothing is hidden from God also helps us to recognize our sins and to be aware of them instead of hiding from them.
St. Faustina wrote about this in her diary:
“Lord I do trust in You but I do not trust You enough. Help me first to be aware of my wretchedness and sin. But in seeing this miserable condition, help me to turn to you rather than to despair. May my trust never end and may it grow continually deeper so that Your Heart may be opened and so that You will pour down Your grace upon me. Jesus I trust in You. Jesus I trust in You. Jesus I trust in You.”Diary of St. Faustina Kowalski #143
In the Gospel of John, we learn that Jesus, knew what it meant to not trust in another’s understanding. John 2:23-25 says,
“Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.”
Jesus was careful not to “entrust” Himself to these people, for He was God, and understood with supernatural wisdom that many of those in Jerusalem were only interested in the “signs which he performed.” He knew the ones who truly believed and those who did not.
If God, who sees every part of me—the good, the bad, and the ugly—loves me completely, then who am I to hold a grudge against someone else? Who am I to be jealous of another? Who am I to withhold forgiveness? Who am I to remember the sins of another?
The words of the minister over the radio so many years ago were simple, yet profound.
Jesus knows the very depth of my heart and willingly loves me. There are no secrets with Him. Nothing is hidden from God. When we consider those words then we also know that God also loves all those around us, in spite of whatever dark secrets they might hold.
And we must do the same.
He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness and light dwells with him.Daniel 2:22