I want to start by thanking all of you who have left comments or sent emails in response to my blog series about “Taking Off the Masks”. I am always encouraged to receive your feedback, both positive and constructive, as I believe this form of dialogue is an effective way for us to grow and enrich our faith.
My dear brothers and sisters, every week as I pray about what to write, I ask the Lord to reveal to me areas in which He wants us (me included!) to grow, to be challenged, and to let go of in order for us to conform more to His image. I have no intention to judge anyone, as that is not my job; however, I do take seriously my role in preparing the Body of Messiah for Judgment Day, and I believe we all need to search and examine our hearts daily. I write this as a word of encouragement for each of you to see my heart and my real face, without a mask.
In Part 1, I wrote about how we tend to mask our outward self with a perfect appearance (not just physically, but also emotionally and spiritually). As I was reflecting more on this issue, I realized that often times, that mask will not only bring us to a place where we are dishonest with ourselves (and more importantly with God) but will also damage our witness and our ability to witness to others as well.
What do I mean by this? When we put on a mask that everything is “perfect”, we at times start to think (even if it is unintentionally) that we are better than others; this makes us unapproachable and prevents others from feeling free to come and speak to us. It can also cause us to be quick to judge other people in their speech, the way they dress, how and what they eat, etc. If they don’t do things the way we think they should, we look down at them and block our hearts from reaching out to them.
We never know why people behave, speak, dress and talk the way that they do. We have to be very careful from judging someone based on his or her outward appearance or behavior.
Every year, I have the privilege to host different tour groups from around the world in Israel. As part of that, I get to share God’s story in my life, the way He brought me from darkness to light. Part of my reality before becoming a follower of the Messiah is that I lost several friends in different terror acts and war here in Israel. So at times as I share the story, I get emotional and the masks come off…the rawness of the pain that I experienced during that difficult time becomes very real again.
One time, I described an incident that took place in my past, when a close friend from my military service called me to let me know that a mutual friend of ours was killed in action. As I got emotional, I told the story in the same exact words that my friend left in her message on my voice mail, one of which was a strong word that Israelis use all the time, but that holds a different meaning for non-Israelis.
Some of the people in that tour group judged me very harshly for saying this word, claiming it destroyed their tour, and their opinion of me. The fact that I was honest, without a mask, did not fit the way they thought I should be, completely ignoring the fact that I was simply sharing a story that took place many years ago.
My dear brothers and sisters, let me remind you once again that life is not perfect, no one person is perfect, and the only perfect being is our God! When we put on a mask of perfection, we block others from being able to come to us and to be truly honest about where they are at out of fear that we will judge and look down upon them. More than that, when we put on a mask of perfection, we mislead others who do not yet know the Messiah, since they will eventually discover that even as believers we have struggles and life is not perfect.
We are called to bring His light into the darkness; let us remove all things that hinder us from running this race, including the mask of perfection. Let’s be honest and real with ourselves and with others until the day of His return, when all will be truly perfect.
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