Unmasked

“I’m great! How are you?” This is a typical conversation that I have often with people…. In Kyle Idleman’s book, “Not a Fan!” I absolutely love how he describes people who wear a “mask!” It is soooooo refreshing at 51 to read a book where someone has written so eloquently and honestly about the millions of people who wear a mask! He exposes a truth I see lived out every day to the point that, on the Back 9 of life, I am just NOT buying it or buying in!!!!!

I have vivid memories of being a young girl and going to a “revival”. You may have no idea what I am talking about. It may sound radical or strange to you because they rarely exist in the “local church” anymore. The “rival” experience I grew up knowing involved having a guest speaker come to your church. For several consecutive nights he preached “revival messages”. Messages that reached deep into the hearts of faithful church members and non-members who were invited to this special event. Many who came were moved by the powerful sermons.

I can remember people in the congregation being given a chance to stand up and speak, giving personal accounts of circumstances in which they needed help!! I will never forget one man standing up, a long time faithful church member, who was struggling with alcoholism. NO ONE KNEW, a mask for sure, but once he had a warm environment in which to share, the damn broke, the mask came off, and the healing began. He was met with love and offerings of help. I still see this man in church. I know for sure a few church members got involved and walked beside this man, not for a week, but for months and years, investing time and themselves.

It was so inspiring to me as a young, impressionable girl. To this day it is the best picture I have ever witnessed of the mask coming off and sincere people committing to walk beside him, not judging, but investing time to help. Revivals were indeed a time where I personally witnessed people (especially church-going adults) take off the mask they were wearing and confess the need for help. They became my heroes. They had guts. They were humble. Personally, I identified with them much more than with the people who seemed to be continually fine, good or great. These were people who had REAL STRUGGLES AND WERE UNASHAMED AND BRAVE ENOUGH TO ASK FOR HELP!!!

In the book, “Not a Fan,” Idleman describes that in his church it is usually new believers or new people at his church who openly talk about marriages hanging on by a thread, children who are addicted to drugs, adults addicted to pornography, unnecessary credit card debt, adultery, and countless other problems. He states in his book that he hopes these new church goers never learn to “put on the mask!” I couldn’t AGREE MORE. I love authentic! I love people who are willing to share their struggles and don’t care what other people think of them. The longer I live, the more I see how many LIES PEOPLE ARE LIVING!! AND, for the sake of their reputation or worrying about what other people will think, they remain silent……living isolated in their pain……mostly due to peer pressure which is very common in adults…..not just teens. I call it “people pleasing” and a form of “pride!”

I realize there is a time and a place to talk about struggles and some things need to be shared in a small and private setting. But we have erred too much in the area of wearing a mask and everything being “good, fine and great”……the seesaw is on the ground…with too many people wearing masks and not given a place…non-judgmental…where they can be heard…prayed for…and helped!!! Where people are willing…to hear the “ugly” and get their hands dirty…get in the ditch and actually HELP SOMEONE GET OUT!!! Beth Moore calls it a “Pit!”

On the flip side, wearing a “mask” can come from the thought that, if we don’t talk about it and just think and try to be positive, things will get better……. NOT!

I would describe a hypocrite as one who wears a mask and works hard to cover up what is really going on. Is it out of shame, bewilderment, or pride that they cover up? Taking off the mask, realizing there is NOT a HUMAN alive who does not struggle with something, someone, or substance is a huge step in the right direction! Seeking to “undress” and expose the REAL struggle with yourself, then sharing it with even a small group of people, is a step in getting much needed, love, support, prayer, wisdom and help. God intends for the “body,” the church, and its people to CARE AND REACH OUT AND HELP. The help can only be offered if, first, we take off the mask. Second, when you have the courage to do it, there must be people willing to help. I am not talking about a “head fake” of help. I am talking about coming alongside someone and walking beside them, encouraging them not to revert back to the “mask”. The “walking beside these unveiled mask wearers” could mean years of commitment.

This is what scripture says in Matthew 23:27-28, “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which OUTWARDLY appear beautiful [the mask], 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.”

Are you wearing a “mask?” Is there some secret struggle lurking in your life that has taken up residence? The road to healing is available and the first step in taking off the “mask” involves looking in the mirror, seeing yourself honestly and being willing to “unveil!” The second step is to find someone to come along beside you that will HELP. There are people who will do it. Pray for God to lead you to the right person. I realize you may get “burned” by someone who is not sincere about coming alongside you. Maybe they don’t comprehend your situation and are just simply not qualified to help. You may have to go through several people to find the “willing heart” or one that “gets it” but they are out there! Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Seek God’s guidance and He will lead you to help.

NO matter where you are in life, God does not desire you to look great on the outside but in need of an extreme makeover on the inside! Has your faith grown cold on the inside but your outside is a “mask of faith?” Are you at a place where you have had this “mask” on for so long that you wonder what other people would think if you took it off? God’s desire is for you to get your “eyes off of others”. It is a lie from the enemy that keeps you wearing the “mask” of what others would think. Chances are they are wearing their own mask or took it off years ago and you were not involved or even knew them at their unveiling! Take a risk. Take off your “outward mask”.

Allow God to show you the true beauty HE can bring at your “unmasking!”

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