Numerous, unexpected responses to the Brokenness post, followed some special one-on-one conversations blessed me. Thank you. It suggested ‘masking secrets’ is a prevalent, deeply personal issue many of us grapple with.
At the risk of being annoying redundant, I ask your forbearance in posting this partial Brokenness addendum. Hopefully, perhaps it might encourage someone, somewhere that they’re not alone in this battle.
Brokenness shared how a passage in Fil Anderson’s book Breaking the Rules wistfully reminded me of the futility of struggling to mask guilty secrets.
Fil wrote how a talented artist friend was asked by his church to exhibit a self-portrait of a special event. The artist’s completed painting portrayed his authentic conviction that there’s no room for pretending in a Christian’s life to change their appearance among other Christians to ‘fit in’ and be accepted. His portrayal, A Broken Mask, drew the startling rejection of the pastor, who deemed “…it was too honest…”. Dejected, the artist sent Fil the following dispirited e-mail:
“We are told that Jesus loves us as we are, sin and all, ugly bits and worthless bits. We are quoted cliches like “Come as you are.” We are offered relief from the burden of hiding in our guilt and shame. We are offered ultimate acceptance.”
The problem begins when we step through the doors of many churches. Suddenly we’re confronted with an endless stream of things that are wrong in our lives, things to repent of, things that need changing. Meanwhile, the Bible instructs us,
“Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so you can live together whole and healed.”–James 5:16
Yet nobody does it because that would mean taking off our mask of holiness. Therefore, we live our lives jumping through imaginary hoops to be accepted by the very people who invited us to “Come as you are.”
Fil’s artist friend concluded his email with this bold pledge:
“I refuse to wear a mask any longer! I will not pretend, not even for Christians. Wearing a mask will destroy you, even if it’s a socially acceptable Christian mask.”
As one who has been there, I pray reiterating this artist’s story may reveal to someone who may be ‘masking secrets’ that, in doing so, they are placing themself under the defeating bondage of seeking the approval of others. May they find the liberating freedom God, Who knows our every ‘secret’, graciously offers to everyone who genuinely’ fesses up’ with“…a broken and contrite heart…” – Psalm 34:18
Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!
2 thoughts on “Masking Secrets”
I hear you Malcolm. Each time I find myself reaching for an ‘acceptable mask’ to wear I lose sight of that each of us is a unique creation of God who loves and accepts us just as we are in our broken, ‘maskless’ condition.
Be blessed brother.
Thanks Fred. That’s really helpful. The one I’ve struggled with is the notion that ‘Christian Unity’ is about thinking the same, behaving the same, believing the same, acting the same… hence we can’t present a broken version of ourselves and we have to wear a mask – identical to everybody else’s.