I don’t know how many of you have heard of the book series PostSecret by Frank Warren, but I’ve read all four books available and let me say, it’s quite moving, disturbing, breathtaking, and spiritually heartbreaking. PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. People are mailing in secrets from around the world. The rule is, the secret has to be true and never been told to anyone else. The books simply consists of postcard after postcard of people owning up to their deepest, darkest, worst secrets. Some are lame like, “I love you and I don’t know how to tell you. I hope you read this.” Others are serious wounds that are planted deep in the soil of people’s souls. Here’s an example of one of those deep wounds:
In the original book, there is a red stamp above the title which says, “Free your secrets and become who you are.” The link above is a blog where people can comment on the postcards. I’ve read comments (in the books, too) to the effect of: “Since I’ve shared my secret, I have experienced so much freedom. I feel so much better.” If you feel as if you aren’t in the loop about this, don’t worry. It’s not overwhelming society, but it is quickly become a cult-icon.
If these books have taught me nothing else, it teaches me even more the depravity of the human soul. As I sat and read these postcards last night, I couldn’t help but be convicted at some of my own sins. I couldn’t help but pray for some of the people. I couldn’t help but cringe at the fact that human beings are capable of some of the things I read. You can’t read these books if you can’t stomach some awful words, terrible pictures, and graphic illustrations. This book, in a nutshell, shows us the need we have a for a Savior.
You are waiting to hear what I think, probably. Well, I think it’s good and bad. It’s good in the sense that people are being vulnerable with others (even anonymously). It’s good that people can express their secrets artistically and hopefully develop avenues to talk about them and “get it out there” instead of simply having it published in an “art” book. With that said, there is a good-bad split here. The book’s not all bad, but it’s not all good either. It’s bad for one primary reason: there is no redeeming quality.
People say they feel better and that their lives are “getting in order.” Some even say this postcard has liberated them from fear, addiction, etc. But what about the deep emotional scar tissue that continues to build on a person’s heart from a life-altering experience? A simple postcard does not take away the wrongs committed by the person or to person. I don’t mean to talk down on the people who wrote in to Mr. Warren — I could have written some of the secrets! — but I say this in so much love because people need something that can take away their sins, pain, tears, worries, hatred, frustration, and fears. The only thing that is capable of doing that is Jesus. Jesus is the only one who has righted wrongs and taken people from utter despair to abundant life. The Bible puts it this way: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Everyone who sent in a postcard is a sinner. Frank Warren is a sinner. I am a sinner. And the only thing that can take away these sins is Jesus. The happiness that people feel when they write a secret on a postcard is so temporal. The happiness that people will feel, apart from Christ, is simply a momentary burden lifter. On the other hand, the Bible says, “You make known to me the paths of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11). If someone remains without Christ, no matter how much they change their life to be a “better person”, they are still in rebellion against God and need to be reconciled to him.
Only Jesus provides the redemption, grace, comfort, security, and love that is longed for by every person in the world — and that is searched for with earnest by every PostSecret sender (otherwise they wouldn’t have sent in their secret). Only Jesus can take the deepest, darkest, vilest, most wicked sins of a person and make them whiter than snow. During his conversion, Charles Spurgeon listened to the minister as he looked right at Spurgeon and said, “Young man, you look miserable. And you will always be miserable — miserable in life and miserable in death — if you don’t obey [the Bible]…Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothing to do but to look and live!”
So if you are reading this and have sent in a PostSecret, or even if you haven’t, then I ask you to look to Jesus so your happiness can be secured for eternity. Only he can take away your pain once and for all.
A simple paper postcard cannot, nor will not, ever do that.