A Church Full of Broken Masks

Updated: Aug 26, 2018



It was the start of January 2016. Fresh into the new year, there was only one resolution I’d fixed in my mind for that year and the years that would follow. I wanted depth in my relationship with God. Closeness like never before. And I knew for sure that faking it was never going to get me there.


Broken masks

Let’s go back a few chapters before this. I was around seven years into my journey with Jesus at the time, and things had mostly been progressive. I mean, I had my fair share of highs and lows, victories and defeats. But even when my lows felt like I was free-falling from the sky, I clenched with dear life to a parachute of scriptures that always kept my falls from being fatal:


“for the righteous falls seven times and rises again...” proverbs 24:16

This always helped me keep going.


Even though I pressed through the lowest of lows and continued to walk with Jesus, I noticed that people around me seemed to somehow be immune. Maybe it was just me who was struggling with lust. Maybe I was the only one who was watching what I shouldn’t have been. Maybe no other Christian was covering their sins by browsing incognito mode to hide it from their history.


I hated how I felt when I saw them seem to thrive. It was nothing to do with the successes they seemed to have, but more about the way it reminded me of my failures. While they were getting through their bible-in-a-year plans, I was stuck on Psalm 51, begging God to create in me a clean heart.


I was tired of the shame I felt for going back to my sins of old. I was fed up of falling flat on my face by the time I got to the next Sunday service. I was exhausted by the constant work it took to cover the cracks in the mask that I’d learnt to wear. But right in the midst of my darkest hour, I was met by the weight of God’s truth. He reminded me of a church He’d diagnosed long before me. Hypocrisy was the sickness, humble repentance was the cure:

“...I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God" - Revelation 3:1-2

It’s the first part of these quoted verses that freed me from the darkest of places. God was telling me that He knew my works. He knew the truth about the sins I thought were deleted from my browsing history. No matter what length I went to in order to seem like I had it all together, the Eternal God and my Heavenly Father fully knew the truth that I was hiding. It seemed silly for me to spend so much energy looking like I didn’t have my battles. If God’s opinion was what really mattered most, then why was I ensnared by the opinions of men?


Removing the mask

The day I decided to stop wearing my mask, I was awakened to a whole new world with Jesus. I got honest about my failings with godly men who I knew were sincere. I cried in the car as I confessed to one of them. And in the midst of my weakest moments of vulnerability, I was met with God’s loving embrace.


I didn’t need any "holy" water to wash away my sins. I didn’t even need these brothers to tell me how wrong I was, since I was fully aware. As much as God used these brothers to support me, my confession of sin wasn’t really about them. It was mainly about me taking up my cross and honouring my decision to die daily. I had to die to my pride and get eternally focused. There was nothing really gained from a moment of approval if eternally my reputation faded into nothing.


False relationships

None of us generally wake up and consciously decide to wear a mask for the fun of it. It’s usually something we do because we have an unchecked belief that we won’t be accepted if we showed our true self - flaws, fears and all. It’s because of this broken belief that we hide the real us from our peers. And the cost of this? Well for one thing, acting is extremely tiring. Worse off, you end up surrounding yourself with people who might only accept you because they think you’re somebody who you’re really not (#ReReadThat). Furthermore, we think that acting will gain us company, but it actually leads us to the one thing we desperately wanted to avoid...


Loneliness

If your peers have fallen in love with the character you’re playing rather than the true, authentic you, this will usually lead to loneliness. We all have a deep yearning for what Adam and Eve had in the garden. They had the sweetest of fellowship and companionship, both with one another and with God. Why? Because they were fully known, fully exposed and yet fully accepted. They were naked and unashamed (Genesis 2:25).


Naked and unashamed

The gospel is the real remedy for our loneliness, hypocrisy and hurt. God invites us to partake once again of this sweet and beautiful fellowship with Him and with one another. But the cost is that we have to drop the masks we hide behind. We have to let go of our pride and do the one thing we fear most: come out from the shadows of secrecy to walk into the rays of God’s truth and healing light (see 1 John 1:5-7).


What’s God saying to you?

God is seeking those who worship in spirit and in truth, not those who only worship on a Sunday (John 4:23). This kind of worship opens doors for a rich and vibrant journey with God. The promise isn’t that your days on earth will be a fairy-tale that’s free from any turbulence. Instead, the promise is that He’ll keep you from falling as you fellowship with Him in the light (see Jude 1:24).


“Come out of the shadows” He gently whispers to you. “Come out from the darkness and into the light”...
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