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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Crime and Punishment (not about the book) (07/21/11)

TITLE: Dirty Little Secret
By Robyn Burke


$283. That is all that stood in the way of my purchase. My fingers hovered over the ‘place order’ button on my computer screen as I once again dreamed of owning the shiny powerful all capable notebook built to my exact specifications. After saving for months, I was still short of my goal and the order would have to wait. Again.

A week later, I sat in front of the dinosaur computer, once again fingers itching as I waited for the window to open. A few hurried clicks and I leaned back with a sigh of satisfaction as the confirmation email arrived in my inbox. Order complete.

But the satisfaction was short lived. In fact the guilt that set in to replace it was swift and razor-sharp, a jagged pain that over time would cause a fracture between my husband, my business partner, and most importantly, God.

$283. This was the going rate it seemed, for selling a piece of my soul. I rationalized that I was ‘borrowing’ the money from the business account, fully intending to replace it before any discrepancies were noted, but when that failed to play out as planned, a lie was set in place to cover up my participation in “misappropriated funds.” I couldn’t even bring myself to call it for what it was. One lie always leads to another.

At first I worked to bury the feelings of guilt by keeping busy with my shiny powerful all capable notebook built to my exact specifications. In fact, it became much, much easier to sit down with the laptop each morning instead of my usual practice: time alone with God and His Word. As the days went on it became harder and harder to look myself in the eye, let alone my partners. Without even trying I began to slowly construct a silent, invisible wall between us, leaving my partner confused as to why. And while my husband sensed something was amiss with me, he chalked it up to the stress of running a business.

It was my dirty little secret and I carried it close to me. Though I was repulsed by the fetid smell that was brewing in my soul I felt powerless to rid myself of it. I was assailed daily by Satan as he gleefully thwacked me with accusations: How could I, a strong Christian woman, have stooped so low, done something so despicable? I scarcely could believe I had done what I’d done and so the guilt and shame became stronger. My spirit shriveled from a loss of daily contact with Jesus; each time I tried to pray, my un-confessed sin was there blocking access.

$283 was the amount of my crime but my punishment was oh, so much more! For nearly a year I harbored my secret. I’m not sure what finally broke me other than the exhaustive weight of carrying it day after day, week after week. I confessed my actions to God (who already knows my every move) and He gently but firmly showed me that my confession needed to go further than just His attentive ear. I spilled my guts to my husband and my business partner, letting all the poison that had built up come gushing out. While the power of the secret was lost once it came out in the open, still I trembled for fear of their reactions.

Yet a gift was given to me. My husband and my business partner each accepted my confession and in return I was shown undeserved grace such as Christ gives. Bringing the secret into the open unlocked the door but it was their forgiveness that set me free. Yes, my partner forgave me, without rebuke. As she said, I’d already been punishing myself for months and doing a darn good job at it. She only wanted to see me released from the prison I’d constructed.

$283. This is the price I paid to learn how the enemy works to twist lies into logical thinking, how weak I am, and the power and devastation of sin and guilt. It is also the price I paid to learn about mercy, love, and grace.

And how desperately I need a Savior.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Anita van der Elst07/28/11
Dear writer, with your descriptions you took my heart right along with you into the pain of the fracture and the ache of the load, as well as the joy of forgiveness. Thank you for being transparent in sharing this and I’m so glad it’s not a “dirty little secret” anymore. Excellent writing.
Carol Penhorwood 07/31/11
So well written! Your choice of words were so effective in showing how the Spirit moves within to bring us back into alignment with God's will. You truly have a gift.