In Jim Carrey’s 1994 movie, “The Mask”, the character he plays finds a weird mask which, when he puts it on, seriously pulls out his trouble making side. As ‘The Mask’ he is completely uninhibited, and uses his new powers to pursue a girl, who is “out of his league”, by any means necessary.
There is a line in the movie that has stuck in my mind ever since I first saw it. The line is “We all wear masks, metaphorically speaking.” That is so true isn’t it? People have been putting on and wearing masks ever since sin first entered the garden of Eden. A mask (noun) is a covering for all or part of the face, worn to conceal one’s identity. To mask (verb) is to disguise or conceal; hide; dissemble: to mask one’s intentions. When God came looking for Adam and Eve in the garden after they had eaten the fruit from the tree of Knowledge their reaction was to hide. “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” – Genesis chapter 3:7-10 (NIV) Their sin led to fear and their fear led to a need to conceal themselves from each other and from God. This is a theme that is repeated over and over in the bible.
We can come to rely on our masks, we can let them define us, we can let them shape us, and we can place our hope in them. In other words, we can let these masks take the place of God in our lives. It doesn’t have to start out as something big. Putting on a mask can start with wanting to gain someone’s approval and grow into confusion about what is mask and what is the real you.
You can even wear so many masks that you never bother to develop the true you hidden underneath all of them. Some however, wear a mask with pride, they don’t want to be known, they want to make people think that they are something that they really aren’t. Satan, when he entered the garden concealed as a snake, used his silver tongue to twist the words of God and cause Eve to doubt the punishment for eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge. And so he succeeded in bringing sin into the world. Some might be just seeking the approval of others. They might buy things they can’t afford and dig themselves so deeply into debt, trying to live a life that they don’t make enough money to live, just to impress their friends and neighbors. In the end they feel weighed down and they are slaves to their debts. Eventually, maintaining the mask becomes too hard as the real us tries to break out from under it. Our masks always fall to pieces. It just takes time and pressure. However, if we let the masks shatter before we remove them they can leave wounds that turn into scars we carry for the rest of our lives.
So how does one remove a mask before it shatters? How does one set aside concealment and work on discovering the real person under the mask? Well, God knows who we were created to be and He alone can see through even our thickest and most clever disguises. God gave us a mirror that we can look into every day to peel back the layers of masks, to expose our core, The Bible. He gave us a guide to assist us in the process of seeking our calling and election in this life, the Holy Spirit. And most importantly He gave us an example of a fully realized person who was true to His purpose and followed God’s will for his life, His son, Jesus Christ.
With these three gifts from God, The Bible, The Holy Spirit, and Jesus, we can be guided across the rift of pretense and into a true relationship with God. We can live as who we are meant to be openly and without fear, we can have freedom. We can choose to strive for and maintain a bold openness with God and our fellow man. We can choose to throw aside our masks like Jim Carrey did at the end of the movie “The Mask” and live our lives as just the person God created us to be, nothing more, but certainly nothing less.
By Brenna Meade