One evening my son Keaton walked into the dining room where my wife and I were having dinner with some friends. His lips pursed, his brow furrowed and his tone serious when he blurted out, “I wasn’t out on the roof, in case you were wondering.” When pressed a little further it turned out that was a lie, “It was Coopers idea, he went first.”
Keeping Cooper’s secret and living the lie were more than this young boy could take. Damn the consequences, he just blurted it out. Obviously, his conscience was overwhelmed, his mind compromised by the effort required to keep the secret and perpetuate the lie. He had to unburden himself.
It would be easy to shrug this off as the limited capacity of a 4 year old, but it’s merely a matter of scale. As a man, the secrets with which you are trusted are more important and the lies you tell of greater impact.
Make sure the secrets you keep are worth keeping. While confessing a transgression may bring you some embarrassment, it will be short lived and result in stronger character and will. Whereas, keeping the secret will last forever, will undermine your character and deplete your will.
If you have done something wrong; own up to it, apologize, make amends. Then it is over.
If admitting your mistake would hurt someone, then find a confidential source with which to share it, preferably a minister who can provide you counsel and context. A counselor can perform a similar service but may not be able to provide absolution, forgiveness or redemption in the context of gods love.
You can not live a lie, you can only act like it for so long. Eventually, the truth will come out and the impact is usually proportional to how long the lie was lived.