Masks

I read this quote from William Shakespeare today and it got me thinking – “God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another.”

In ancient Greece they loved the theater, they wore giant masks to portray good or evil. It was always a caricature to emphasize the character. They would sometimes switch masks during performances to let you know they had changed. These performers were not known as actors. They called them hypocrites, which literally means “one who wears a mask”.

Today we too wear masks, we are all performers because we don’t often show our real faces. Here are some of the masks we wear:

  • The “happy” mask
  • The “I’m better than most” mask
  • The “I’m very together” mask
  • The “I’m a victim of others” mask
  • The “I don’t care” mask
  • The “I’m self-sufficient” mask
  • The “I’m very important” mask
  • The “I’m competent enough to not need love” mask
  • The “I’m the expert” mask
  • The “I’m not hurt” mask
  • The “I have the answers” mask
  • The “I am independent” mask
  • The “I am cool” mask

Those came from a book called “True Faced” by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and John Lynch. Here are some I thought of:

  • The “I don’t have an addiction” mask
  • The “My marriage is doing great” mask
  • The “My children are doing great” mask
  • The “I don’t have an anger problem” mask
  • The “I don’t need accountability” mask
  • The “I don’t need to be in a small group” mask
  • The “I don’t need a church home” mask
  • The “I don’t want to get involved” mask
  • The “My finances are fine” mask
  • The “I’m a Christian” mask

The reason most of us wear these masks, is we have a fear of people really knowing who we are. We are afraid they won’t accept us or will think we are unworthy. These fears keep us behind our mask, trying to convince ourselves we are not being a hypocrite.

Here is a pattern that I see often in people I talk to. There is some issue or hurt that causes pain in their hearts. They feel alone, hurt, desperate, filled with anguish and many other emotions. Others around them are not struggling as much and so they feel alienated and alone. They push the pain down deep inside their heart and hope it will eventually go away. Unfortunately it keeps popping its head up again and again. Slowly they lose hope that they can change or be “fixed”. They decide that they must live with this pain and therefore they start wearing masks to cover up their dysfunction.

I think that Christians wear more masks than those still seeking Christ. We think we have to have it all together and are afraid we will be discovered. We can be like Jekyll and Hyde. Acting one way in public and another in private. That kind of behavior has turned a lot of people off to Christianity.

To overcome this problem of mask-wearing, it starts with Trusting God. Trusting that He is who He says He is. That He will do what He said He would do. Understanding the grace that He has given us, that we are forgiven and made white as snow.

The more intimate we get with God the more He can heal those hurts, help us overcome those hangups and habits that are unhealthy. Only Jesus can heal you. To smash those masks, you need to get real with some people. You have to let some people into your world, admit you have struggles and issues. Community and accountability are required for the masks to come down. That is the beginning of being the real you and not a mask wearing hypocrite.

So make the effort to first of all admit what masks you wear and determine to be true to who you are. It means taking a risk and letting down your guard, but the freedom on the other side of that is amazing. Smash your masks today. Be real.

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