Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What Do We Gain by Wearing Masks?

We stood at the counter, talking to the barista. She was an outgoing conversationalist with an explosive willingness to make friends. In the midst of small-talk, she dropped a ball on us.

“You guys are Christians, aren’t you?

We had not talked about God, Jesus or the Church, nor had we talked about abortion, homosexuality, Duck Dynasty, or any other topic that would make a Christian stand out. We were being ourselves, and for some reason, she noticed something different.

“You always come in here and are so happy and friendly! I love when you all come!” She said.

The real shock, though, was the glimpse of how much of ourselves that others notice. This sounds like a dumb question with an obvious answer, but how often do we remind ourselves that were being watched?

Do we sometimes manipulate ourselves to appear better? 

I think it’s tempting to have a disconnect between our private lives and our public lives when we are ashamed of our private lives. This is when facades becomes so tempting. If we don’t like something in us, we like to conceal it with something else--something more pleasing for others. We then parade ourselves as someone else and hide behind the mask as if life is a perpetual Halloween for adults.  

I hate wearing masks. It’s safe and it’s a way to make friends, but I don’t like it at all. I hate my own masks that tempt me daily, and I wish I could dispose of them, but they still remain in the closet of my life, itching to be worn. 

It’s hard to be vulnerable and open, even to those who love us. How can we live vulnerably in the presence of others when we can barely accept our own private selves? Once again, the answer is Jesus. The masks we wear are invisible to the eyes of God, and Jesus looks past our facades. He knows our bluff and our true selves when others only see the mask. 

What do we think that we gain by hiding ourselves when God doesn’t even believe our disguises? We may seek the approval of those around us, but what about the One who seeks to dwell inside of us? Our friends and acquaintances will never know us like God, and that is good because God is filled with true, genuine love; we don't need to fear ulterior motives with him.

Jesus said, “Come to me.” He didn’t say, “Come to me only if you can get your act together....” He sees us as we are and yet he reconciled us to himself without any regrets. He took us, along with our masks, so that we may eventually learn to live without them. Like a counselor, he is patient and willing to work with us to surrender the facades. 

If we already have someone who loves us that much, what drives us to still cling to masks? Why do we care what others think when we already have all that we need with Jesus? 

We all carry masks, but God invites us to throw them off and forget about them. He is the only person who doesn’t get offended by our deepest secrets, so let’s trust him by being vulnerable. No one else can care or love as much as he does.

We can’t let our own relational aspirations replace Christ's love. Wearing masks destroys his love in us, and in doing so, consider our masks to be more effective at meeting our needs.

Why not live with Christ and accept his willingness to work with us as we are? What's wrong with simply letting our own skin be our skin? I don’t want more masks so I can make more friends; I want no masks so I can make real friends. We already have a friend in Jesus, who laughs at our masks because he sees them for what they are: a futile attempt at life. He sees us and loves us

Although masks will always haunt and tempt us, the more we can learn to revel in Christ’s love, the more we will see masks as futile attempts at a satisfying life. 

No comments:

Post a Comment