If we’re honest, we have to acknowledge that we all wear masks at times. Even our closest friends only see what we want them to see. We hide our true selves for many reasons, but the root is usually fear of what others might think if they knew who we really were. The risk of rejection is just too great so…we hide.
I wish that was as far as it went but I don’t think it is. At times, I find myself even trying to hide from God behind one mask or another. I’m not alone in this….Eve actually did it first…hiding from God in the garden. Of course, she hadn’t read Psalm 139 so maybe she didn’t know that God was intimately acquainted with all her ways, or knew her words before she said them.
Once, many years ago, I was required to participate in a children’s costume party. My costume included a mask and when I was dressed in the complete outfit no one could possibly guess it was me inside. I found a certain freedom to act in any way I wanted since no one knew it was me and wouldn’t judge me for anything I did. But it was an artificial freedom. Because I wasn’t perceived by the children as “real” they interacted with me from a distance, unwilling to get too close . They instinctively knew that what they were seeing wasn’t the whole picture. I felt freedom to act as I chose but I also experienced a sense of isolation. Several of the other adults knew who I was inside my costume and were the ones who would draw closer and interact on a more intimate basis.
Isn’t that how it is in life? Don’t we avoid people who seem “phony”, keeping our distance? Don’t we feel more comfortable with people who have earned our trust by being real? How effective can we be in ministry if we can’t be real? Who will allow themselves to risk a relationship with us if they sense we aren’t what we seem?
One final thought…who knows what’s inside the masks we wear in our daily lives better than the Lord? Who is more willing than anyone to draw close to us? Who has seen everything there is to see in us and still loves us? Jeremiah 23:24 says, “Can a man hide himself in hiding places so I do not see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill the heavens and the earth? declares the Lord.”
We don’t need to pretend to be something we’re not. We can be real with God. He knows all about us and loves us anyway.