We recently celebrated a friend’s birthday with a zoom dress-up party. It’s fun to take on different personas with zany costumes, but as COVID-19 has shown us, masks can be limiting and suffocating.
Physical masks protect us from airborne pollutants. But wearing figurative masks to protect our image or hide our insecurities puts distance between us and others—including God.
Certain situations and people draw out our sense of inadequacy. When surrounded by people who are more successful, better informed, or more polished, we reach for a mask to fit in. Let’s look at some common types of masks.
Types of Masks
- The humor mask keeps conversations on a superficial level to cover the hurt and vulnerability an honest encounter might reveal.
- The victim mask says, “Focus on my problems so you won’t blame me for my inadequacies.”
- The mask of crisp efficiency keeps people from getting too close.
- Masks of anger, self-pity, perfectionism, boastful pride, super-spirituality, and the ever-needed caretaker insulate us from scrutiny.
These masks isolate and keep us lonely and insecure. Only when we remove them do we find true acceptance and healing. So, how do we remove our masks? The answer may surprise you.
Instead of layering on masks, God offers to wrap us in the righteousness of Christ.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV).
On the cross Jesus became all the ugliness that embarrasses and shames us. He died for our brokenness and sinfulness. Then He wrapped us in His robe of righteousness. Christ’s righteousness removes the need for masks of our own making.
Isaiah calls our righteous deeds filthy rags. The good works and achievements we do to gain acceptance before God and people don’t enhance the righteousness we receive from Jesus. They detract like a dark stain on white linen.
When we understand what Jesus accomplished for us, we can remove our masks and bask in His unconditional love and acceptance. We risk being real with others and allow them to know us as we are—people in process. If we hide behind our masks too long, we begin to wrongly believe they are our identity.
Steps to Remove the Masks
- Be real with God. The Old Testament poets and prophets poured out their confusion to God. They didn’t fake a pious pretense with Him. God rewarded their honesty by renewing their minds and restoring their hope (Jeremiah 3; Ps. 139).
- Trust God’s assessment of you. If your standards for self-acceptance are higher than God’s, they’re unrighteous (Job 4:17). God accepts us on the basis of Jesus’ righteousness. Period. Do you?
- Begin by being real with safe people who understand grace. With practice you’ll learn to be real with all people.
- Extend grace to those you meet on your walk through life.
God could have made us spiritually mature the moment of spiritual birth. Instead He designed spiritual growth to be a process. When we remove our masks, we show God we trust His estimation of us and His work in our lives.
During the COVID-19 threat we will continue to see many types of masks. But let’s not make playing a role one of them.
During the COVID-19 threat we will continue to see many types of #masks. But let’s not make playing a role one of them. #freedom Click To Tweet
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:6 NLT).
Two July summits:
- Rebound Your Highest: Come back stronger after the struggle.
Check out the other speakers’s topics. I’ll be speaking on “How to Turn Messy Emotions into Mighty Faith.”
- Savvy Homeschooler
Don’t be manipulated by the wrong definition of love. Get your copy of the free e-book How to Protect Yourself from Manipulation along with the info-graph “How to Stop Caving into Manipulation.” Click here for your free copy.