Monday, May 9, 2011

WHO IS THE PERSON BEHIND THE MASK?

     Wearing a mask can be fun unless you happen to scare a little two year old.  Such was the case when our son Nathan came home for a visit.  He donned a mask he had from several years ago and came into the main part of our living room to have some fun with his nephews.  The problem occurred when our grandson Aiden took a look at that face and started to tear up.  Uncle Nathan quickly removed the mask to take away any doubt of his identity.  In fact he offered to let Aiden try it on.  He accepted that idea with glee and put on the mask to go show his mommy.  That was an easy fix, but what if you put on a mask that could not be removed so easily? 
     Alexandre Dumas wrote a famous fictional account entitled "The Man in the Iron Mask" which tells the story of a man locked away in a prison who was forced to wear an iron mask day and night to conceal his identity.  It is an action packed and romantic novel capturing the French court of Louis IV in all its glory.  Supposedly, the man in the mask was his twin brother, and to preserve the throne, the twin was hidden away so there could be no controversy over the heir.  While this tale is fictional, there are people out there that do wear masks every day to conceal who they really are inside.  
     One of the most prevalent masks that people wear is the mask of pride and self accomplishment.  These folks seem to have it all together.  They would not dream of letting anyone know how they feel or if they have any needs.  Instead, they stoically push forward on the projects they undertake while patting themselves on the back for doing an amazing job.  People like this seem to need no one.  They are in charge refusing assistance unless it was their idea.  This type of mask is hard to break through, but when God begins to work in their heart, we get a peek at a person who is really very insecure inside.  The mask was there to protect him/her.  Somehow that individual felt like a failure, so they drove themselves to be the best refusing help along the way.  Often, when this person comes to Christ, they can be a highly motivated leader of others.  When I think of this mask, the Apostle Paul comes to mind.  He was an instigator who persecuted the church not caring who was hurt in the process.  Then, on the road to Damascus, he met the Lord.  The change was dramatic, and all masks fell away.  In the ensuing years, Paul used his great talents to lead many to the Savior and help to organize churches on his many missionary trips.
     A second mask we often see is called "Excuses".  People who wear this mask have an excuse for almost anything and everything.  They cannot help at a church function because it would take them away from home.  Yet, they can be found leaving their family behind to do many other outside activities that seem to better fit their efforts.  Other excuses range from, "I'm too tired", or "I'm too old or too young".  Then, there is the ever favorite, "I just don't feel led to do that".  Let me state that I am not saying we should say "yes" to everything.  That is madness!  We do have times when we are too busy with our family or we have illness we are dealing with that should rightly allow us to say "no".  However, there are many individuals that use this mask all the time putting off any valuable service to their family, neighbors or church family.  The root cause of this mask is selfishness.  It is the "me first" attitude that must be cut off if we are to have freedom from this bondage.  When we truly repent of our selfish attitude, we can really begin to love the Lord with all our heart and soul and mind and others as ourselves (Luke 10:27).  Moses is a perfect example of someone who had a lot of excuses as to why he could not lead the children of Israel out of bondage.  Nevertheless, the Lord answered every objection and made every provision necessary to him to succeed.  Only when we let go of our excuses will we be able to be used of the Lord.
     Our final mask is known and seen all too often. It is the mask of religiosity.  People who wear this mask appear to be very pious folks.  They are serious about going to church, keeping the commandments, and helping others.  On the outside, they look like moral giants, but on the inside, they are often hollow.  Christ addressed this constantly during His three year ministry as He encountered the Pharisees.  These men were very upright, prayerful and knew the Law, but Jesus pronounced woes to these men of importance.  He could see through them as He said:  "Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you are like whitewashed tombs which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness.  So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness" (Matthew 23:27-28).  The Lord did not mince words.  I shudder every time I read this and pray that I may not fall into this trap.  Wearing a religious mask may look good to others, but the truth is all our good works are as filthy rags before the Lord.  He desires our repentance and obedience rather than any sacrifices we could ever offer.  
     Three masks - three types of people all in need of God's touch.  We do not have to wear a mask any longer when we come into relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  By His blood, we are made righteous in Him.  He has set us free from the mask of pride, excuses and religiosity.  We don't have to return again to these because we are now free to live as His children of light revealing His glory.
     While our son was here visiting we did have fun with his silly mask.  Laughter does us good, but we need to seriously take a look at our own lives.  If, when we look into the mirror of the Word, we see a false face where our countenance should be reflecting Christ, we need do business with God through prayer, and repentance.  Remember, He has put us here to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever not to blend in with the world by wearing a mask.  Selah!




What are some of the masks you see people wear?   I welcome your thoughts and insights.

6 comments:

Penned Pebbles said...

Great article! The mirror of the world leaves us too vulnerable without some type of mask, or even a combination of masks. Oh, but the mirror of God's Word, how it reflects the truth, how it points to Christs and shows us a real beauty found only in Him! Blessings!

Barbara Thayer said...

Thanks for the visit Petra. I so enjoyed reading your blog today too and left you a message. I loved your testimony as well. I enjoy my moments of solitude as you do. Isn't it good to know that we don't have to wear masks when we are in Jesus Christ! He has set us free! Blessings my friend!

Diana Lovegrove said...

Being stripped of your mask is a painful, painful business. I wore a mask before God - at one time I hated Psalm 139 because I wanted to hide the "real me" from God but that Psalm told me I couldn't. Thank God He has stripped the mask from me. And the best thing about it - knowing the "real me" He hasn't rejected me, because in Christ, His Beloved Son, I am reconciled to Him! Praise God! Thanks for this post, Barbara! God bless you.

Barbara Thayer said...

Thank you Diana...I appreciate your visit here. I think we all wear masks from time to time to hide the person we are. But as you said so well...I praise God that He stripped off the masks and loves us by His grace. He is sooooo good to us! Blessings to you my friend!

Christina said...

Oh Lord! What a powerful message! May we truly worship Him in spirit and in truth continually coming to him to cleanse of us all defilement and hypocrisy.

What a convicting post you have written. Thank you!

And I have to tell you dear sister -- you are so adorable! I love how you look in all of your pictures! : ) Your family must love you to pieces!

Love & blessings!

Barbara Thayer said...

When I first saw the picture of Nathan and I with his crazy mask on, I told my friends that it was just another typical day in the Thayer household. With a daughter and three sons....we had lots of comedy, drama and just plain old good fun in our home. Nathan is the youngest...so we still enjoy just having fun together.

The more I looked at that picture the more I thought about the masks we sometimes wear in real life. My prayer each day is that God will show me when I am being real and when I am wearing a mask....I want Him to point it out and make it clear.

Thank you again for your words of encouragement Christina! God's blessings!