Unmasking The Mask
Writer Author Elizabeth Parker
- Fiction No
“Love takes off the mask that we fear we can't live without and know we cannot live within. “ James Baldwin
So many people today live behind a mask. Take the internet for example, do we really know who we're interacting with? Pedophiles surf the 'net' pretending to be someone they're not, looking for the young to prey upon on. Lonely women, young and old, put up profile pictures of young beautiful women, pretending to be something they're not in order to get attention they so longingly crave. Old men post pictures found through Google or some other search engine depicting viral young men... trying to attract attention from the 'old lonely women' whom he believes to be young, busty and beautiful. Hurting, wounded and bleeding souls crying inside but hiding behind clown faces. Broken hearts, crying out for love but pretending to be brave and strong, needing nothing or no one!
We have all known good actors and actresses who can change masks in a moment. It's sad but all ages play this game. Young people learn to play it at a very early age. They are savvy. They know their audience. Knowing the mask their teacher wants so they put it on in the classroom. They listen and watch and learn to wear the masks their parents or their peers wear. And the game goes on!
And it's not just the internet or the classroom! It can be found in our churches. I once heard a statement that has been repeated in the press across the country. Hear it and consider its validity. "Only 5% of America's drug and alcohol addicts live on skid row. Many addicts attend our churches regularly. Addicts are good actors and actresses. And our congregations are filled with actors and actresses." But it's not just the addicts that wear their masks to church. People who pretend to be Christians but in fact are what I call 'Pretenders'. People who will hug you on Sunday morning and gossip about you Monday morning on Facebook. Pastors who abuse their wives while having affairs. Sister So And So meeting Brother What's His Name in some sleazy motel on Tuesday afternoon. Mask wearers!
But can I tell you something...Jesus Christ delights in helping people remove their masks. In doing so He not only helps us see ourselves as we are, but He reveals to us all that we can be AND the joy inherent in being genuine. He knows the emptiness and loneliness that causing a mask-wearer and the confusion and deception caused by wearing masks. He lived among persons whose life-style was a charade. They, like many today, lived life as play-actors. Repetitiously and with clear candor He confronted these deceptive dramatists and called them "hypocrites." In the book of Matthew Christ used the Greek word for hypocrite, HUPOKRITES, fifteen times. It was a word originating in the Greek theater. It meant a mask-wearer. In the theater one actor or actress might well play several roles. In one role the person would come on stage wearing one costume and a mask representing a certain character. These masks were on short sticks and were held in front of the face. That same person might go off stage change costumes, put on elevator shoes, pick up a different mask, change voice inflection and come back on stage as another personality. That is okay on stage. It is acceptable and expected in the theater. However, when it becomes a life-style on the street, it becomes confusing.
Thank God for and rejoice with those who have taken off the masks, ended their role playing, and at last found peace in Jesus Christ.
"Faith is holding on when there's nothing to hold on to."
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