Superhero Batman and his sidekick, Robin, combined as the dynamic duo to combat eccentric villains like the Riddler, Penguin and Joker. None could figure out that Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson were the caped crusaders behind the masks. These vigilantes of justice maintained anonymity with a mere piece of cloth around Robin’s eyes and rubber headgear hiding Batman’s face. “Holy masquerade,” Robin might shout.
A mask is an effective tool in concealing a true identity. Disguising for the purpose of pretend is fun; or as in the case of crime fighters, necessary. Putting on a front, a form of masquerading, for the purpose of pretense is a different story.
Halloween is approaching. Young children, teens and an increasing number of adults will don the costume of choice and either “Trick or Treat”, “Trunk or Treat” or party like its high school all over again.
Behind the mask one has the freedom to temporarily become someone else. The inner self is released for a night. Shy people become animated when festooned in a mask.
Masks aren’t real. We all know that. Yet, humans are inclined to wear them to hide during stressful situations. Solomon wrote, “The heart knows its own bitterness, and a stranger does not share its joy” and “Even in laughter the heart may sorrow…” No one really knows what lies beneath the mask camouflaging the real person.
The Greeks had a word for stage performers, those who play a part and pretend to be something they are not. We use the same word today for people who cloak the truth about their beliefs, lifestyles, loves and hates. The word is hypocrite. What an ugly word to describe one who puts on a mask.
Hypocrites attend church pretending to be holy as a protective cover. Hypocrites need to know it is safe to let down the veneers. Redemptive cultures, such as churches, need to accept people with all of their foibles and failures. Our message needs to be that it is okay to struggle. We all do. There is no need to pretend. In fact it is pointless because everything about us lies naked and open before the eyes of Him to whom we will one day give an account. No creature is hidden from His sight; even if you don’t attend church.
Consider this. The God who sees us all, and knows the depths of our hearts, still loves us enough to give us Jesus, the only covering we will ever need. Agree with Him about your need and stop the charade.
Have a happy, fun and safe Halloween!