Final thoughts on the mask

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Still continuing to talk to people about that last post. I wanted to add a couple more thoughts, then we’ll move on to some other stuff. I’m actually anxious to get onto some other topics, but God is really pressing me about one more post on this, to wrap it up and clarify a couple things. So here goes…

I’m thinking that the only Person to ever truly live without a mask was Jesus. He was 100% true, 100% of the time. But the rest of us…well, that’s our goal, but we definitely fall short. Don’t we all do a little pretending sometimes? I’m not sure it’s possible for us to be completely real with everyone, all the time.  The question I think we need to ask ourselves is, “Am I characterized by pretending behavior?” ….meaning, how real am I most of the time? and am I allowing God to transform me more and more into the image of His Son, who was always completely REAL? We should be striving toward the goal of living lives that are real and true. We’re all at different places on this continuum, but by His grace, we should be growing closer and closer toward that goal.

Sometimes the mask isn’t our choice. I know there were times in my life when I willingly and consciously chose the mask. I was pretending to be someone I wasn’t, and the purpose was to hide the real, not-so-good me…the “me” I didn’t want others to know existed. Then there were other times in my life, when most people didn’t know the struggles I was dealing with, but I didn’t have the freedom to tell them. Like some have said in their comments, sometimes we have a responsibility to other people that keeps us from being able to share what’s going on. I totally understand that. And to any of you who may be living in that situation, let me just say this. I know it feels dishonest, and you wish you could just be real, but maybe you are in a holding zone, where you have to wait for God’s timing on this. I do want to encourage you to find someone you CAN be real with, who can offer you their support and prayers. This is what kept me from going crazy. I knew there were a few really great people I could lean on, who were praying for me and with me, and who always knew how to encourage me. Everyone needs a few friends like that.  So seek that out if you don’t have it. And pray for God to bring your situation to a better place…a place where you have the freedom to live in the truth and not behind a mask. Jesus is the one who said, “The truth will set you free”…that’s what He wants for you, so pray for Him to bring you to that place, in His timing.

I’m still struggling with all this, and I probably will until I die. For some crazy reason, we all want to impress each other, and we know that some of our behavior just isn’t very impressive! Let’s do our best to live in the Light of God’s Truth, asking Him to reveal our hypocrisy to us, so we can deal with it. And let’s be willing and ready to show grace to each other, so that we can help each other live in honesty and truth. Most of all, let’s follow the leading of the Spirit, so we’ll know how and when we are supposed to share our personal struggles…for the building up of the kingdom and for His Glory, above all!

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5 Responses to “Final thoughts on the mask”

  1. Brenda C. Says:

    I don’t think I normally wear a mask, but I have learned that being real makes people uncomfortable. If people ask how things are going, they want to hear me say, “Fine.” They’re uncomfortable with the truth. In fact, I’m pretty much invisible everywhere I go, and I think it’s because I’ve been real. Maybe some are afraid that my being divorced or having a troubled teen is catching.

  2. Charity Says:

    Now that’s exactly what I meant when I gave the challenge for us all to be ready to show grace. We have to WANT others to be real, in order to foster this environment. Otherwise, we don’t know what to do or say when someone is real. We need to be ready to help, ready to encourage, ready to support.

    Think about this…if a person is still trying to earn God’s favor by rule-keeping, and observing man-made traditions, then if someone is struggling, it’s gonna seem scary to help them. Like you said, whatever they’re stuggling with might be contagious!! But if a person is understanding grace, and living in a way that extends God’s grace and love to others, then if a friend is struggling, it won’t be scary. It’ll be an opportunity to pass on God’s love and grace.

    I’m so sorry that you feel “invisible”, Brenda….what a sad commentary for Christianity. May God forgive us and help us to change this mess!

  3. Dr. Michael A. Smith Says:

    I think one thing that encourages people to hide behind the mask it the judgmental attitudes of Christians and churches. When it is all about a look, an attitude, etc. people feel they have to appear like everyone else. Lets face the fact–Christianity is not geared for being transparent. Even preachers around other preachers do the same thing.

    And we need to face another fact–when someone is totally transparent, it makes the status quo uncomfortable, and they are shunned or marked as kind of crazy. I think often of Mother Teresa. What she gave up and how she lived to work with the lepers of India is such a testimony of what Christ would do, and yet we discount her example because she does not embrace our ideas of Christianity. Sometimes you wonder if Jesus or the Apostle Paul would be allowed in our churches today.

  4. Cathy Says:

    I think another perspective to throw in here is that as we look to Jesus as our perfect example…realize that, yes, He was perfectly authentic, yet He never drew attention to Himself-ever! He was constantly directing others to His Father. He constantly said, the words that I speak and the deeds that I do, I do through the Father. So, I guess for me…the real issue isn’t whether I’m hiding it or letting it all hang out…for me, it is getting my eyes focused where they should be…on my Father! and off of myself! And when He brings an opportunity for me to be transparent, and when doing so points the person I’m sharing with to see how Great God is…then it’s priceless.

  5. Charity Says:

    Such great thoughts, there. Thanks so much, Mike and Cathy, for adding to the thread. So good to hear from you, Mike!! and Cathy…I’ve been hoping you’d share your thoughts on all this.

    Don’t you think if Christianity is marked by judmental attitudes, then we’re way off base?? I mean, look at the grace we’ve each been given. Why are we so unwilling to, in turn, show grace to others? I do think this varies from church to church, and from group to group. Some are still bound by performance-based religion, and are therefore, mostly concerned with outward appearances. I really believe it’s a mark of true Christianity to get away from that and move toward what matters–issues of the heart.

    And bottom line, like you said, Cathy, our eyes must be on God…not on ourselves, and not on other people. When we have Him as our main focus, then He puts everything else into perspective for us. Thanks for reminding us of that!

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