Masks We Wear
Do you remember when the pandemic first began and we all started wearing masks? For most of us that was probably last Spring sometime. At the time, I can remember thinking how funny everyone looked in masks, as if we were all planning to perform surgery or rob a bank. Not that I took the pandemic lightly but I just wasn’t used to seeing everyone wear masks (now I’m trying to get used to seeing people with plastic face shields on). Well, almost a year later, the mask has become ubiquitous. Hasn’t it? Masks and face coverings are so commonplace now that sometimes seeing an uncovered face is shocking. Watching the Super Bowl on Sunday, Colson said he was surprised that very few of the commercials seem to be set during the pandemic as most of the people in the commercials were not wearing masks or social distancing.
Because of the pandemic, the reason for face coverings today is obvious but it reminds me of the figurative masks we all put on from time to time for reasons of pride, fear, and insecurity. In the same way people put on physical masks to hide or disguise their identity, people have long put on figurative masks to either project a certain image or to keep others from seeing who they truly are. Examples of this may be pretending on the outside that we’ve got it all together when inside we may feel lost and confused. On the outside, we may appear happy and content when inside we’re actually feeling broken and sad. On the outside, we may project strength and faith when inside we’re actually dry and listless. While these are somewhat common masks, there are more devious examples. In 2 Corinthians 11:13, Paul warns the people about “false prophets, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ.” In verse 14, he says “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” As Christians, we must be careful of those we don’t know who may present themselves as godly authorities.
But we also need to be careful about hiding behind masks ourselves. Ephesians 4:25 says “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.” Speaking truthfully, which includes being honest about who we are, to one another is important for the Body of Christ (the church) to function as it should. While the world may say differently, we as Christians are not commanded to always project or put on a mask of strength and adequacy. The church is meant to be a place where we can come in spite of our sins, our past, our inadequacies; that in the power of the Holy Spirit and the fellowship of believers we might be led to repentance, change, and faith. God has composed the body to be interdependent and for each part to be cared for. That means we hurt together, we grow together, we rejoice together. But we can only do that, when we take off our masks.
Finally, and most importantly, let us not hide from Jesus. He can see behind any front we put up anyway. I Samuel 16:7 says “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” If you’re despairing, lost, or struggling, take off your mask and call on the Lord as David did when he said “Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61:1-2)
Have a blessed week,