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This post contains ideas that were taken from the book, The Cure. More specifically, these ideas can be found in Chapter Two of that book, the chapter which is entitled Two Faces.
Even though I have put their ideas into my own words, I want to be clear that the original ideas came from the book, and the way they word and expand on these ideas is so much better and stronger than I ever could. I’m putting this into my own words, in hopes of helping these ideas to “stick” in my head, and in my heart.
If you have even the tiniest bit of curiosity about this book, I strongly encourage you to purchase and read the book for yourself, and the link I have given you is a link to their store, where you can purchase it. And no, I’m not an affiliate for them! LOL I’m just passing along the help I’ve received.
You’ll find the post where I discuss Chapter 1, Two Roads at this link.
Even once we have chosen to enter into the Room of Grace, we will still find ourselves tempted from time to time, to go back to wearing a mask, like we used to do, in The Room of Good Intentions.
Why do we do that???
Bottom line, I think many of us tend to do it when we want to prove to ourselves, or others, that we’re worthy of being loved.
Perhaps we we do it to keep others from feeling sorry for us: we don’t want to appear as if we don’t have it together. Or maybe we don’t want to stir up any drama.
Sometimes we wear a mask because we’re worried about God’s reputation. (I actually find this one fairly laughable, but I’ve seen it often enough that I know it must be a fairly common sentiment. As if God can’t protect His own reputation!) Or maybe we’re worried that we won’t be a good witness to those who aren’t believers. (As if non-believers can’t spot a facade!)
Sometimes we worry about what other Christians might view as “correct behavior”. An honest heart that is struggling out loud can sometimes go beyond our comfort zone. And do you ever get the feeling that we think we’re being graded on some spiritual scale (whether by God or man, it’s hard to tell) for the picture we present, and so we’ve got to appear to have it together, and we’ve got to say all the right things, whether we feel them, or not?
For whatever our own individual reason for being tempted to re-don a mask, this quote rings true:
“No one told me that when I wear a mask, only my mask receives love.”
What I long for, what we long for, is to be known for who we are, yet be loved and accepted, anyway.
But when I wear a mask, you can’t know who I really am. And thus, the real me isn’t being loved.
Masks aren’t permeable.
The love you offer my mask never penetrates to my heart, because it’s not ME that you’re loving. It’s just the image I’m projecting.
And the masks themselves are not the problem. The masks are merely a symptom, and not the root cause, of what’s going on deep inside of us.
The root problem, on the inside, is that all God’s chilluns got unresolved sin issues.
And our shame about those sin issues makes us feel the need to cover them up.
See, when I sin against you, that sin produces guilt in me.
And when you sin against me, that sin produces hurt in me.
So the problem that resides on the inside of us, is the guilt and hurt that we carry around in our hearts.
And then, shame makes us want to hide what we suspect to be true of ourselves.
Guilt and hurt are the perfect petri dish for breeding blame, fear, denial, a judgmental spirit, controlling behavior, and anger. Every evil action that we’re capable of coming up with gets ignited by the guilt and hurt that we carry around in our hearts.
And what’s worse, were it possible for things to get any worse, is that we also become an example to others of how important it is to keep up this charade: the charade that pretends to be who we’re not. Because if I’m unwilling to humble myself, and show my flaws, certainly it’s not a safe environment for OTHERS to have any flaws.
And so, the cycle perpetuates itself, in our churches, in our friends, in our families, and in our children.
Sad, isn’t it?
The book poses this question: “What if there was a place so safe that the worst of me could be known, and I would discover that I would not be loved less, but more in the telling of it?”
The book says, and I am finding it to be true in my own experience, that such a place exists.
And what I’m discovering is that God longed for me to find it, and He longed for me to live in the freedom it has brought me, for a long time.