Act two of The Phantom of The Opera opens with the song Masquerade. Everyone is dressed in a costume and wearing a mask while standing on the grand staircase. Did you know that most people wear masks every day? Can anyone take us seriously if we have a mask on? Let’s take a further look at the many masks we wear. I invite you to read more.
Today is part 5 of a nine-part series leading up to the 500th 4th Day Letter. Thus far, I explained that one of the reasons that God created us was to help Him grow His kingdom here on earth. We learned that we all need to be saved and that mercy is God’s greatest blessing. Last week, we explored what it means to be broken by sin and wounded by the world. I closed by stating that most of us spend a lifetime hiding or denying our flaws and wounds. Today, we will investigate why.
“Do not be afraid,” and “Fear not” are prevalent phrases throughout the Bible. Despite this fact, most of us go through life afraid that others will discover our wounds and brokenness. Luke 19:10 states, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” If this is so, why do we wear masks? Why do we hide our brokenness?
The simple answer is that Satan is a liar. He constantly convicts us with our sins and wounds and tells us we are unworthy of God’s love. He wants us to believe that we are the worst of sinners. His tactic causes us, out of fear, to put on our masks. We allow shame, humiliation, and embarrassment to drive us into hiding.
In part-one, I invited everyone to participate in the purple paper exercise. On side-one I asked you to write down the many ways you have been wounded by the world, and on side-two, I asked you to write down your most frequently recurring sin. If you have not done so, please take a moment and do so now. It’s highly likely that no one in the world other than you knows what is written on your paper. It may be your best kept secret. Does anyone really know the person you are behind your mask?
Yes, we all wear masks. I have identified three types of masks. The first mask is hiding ourselves from others. We worry about what our family and friends would think if they knew what we struggled with. Our pride and ego get in our way.
The second mask is hiding ourselves from ourselves. We become so good at fooling others that we begin to believe in our false self. Self-deception prevents us from seeing ourselves as we really are.
Shame is the powerful human emotion that causes us to put on the first two masks. As long as we allow shame to cause us to hide in the dark, it will continually exercise control over us. To break free from the grip of shame, we must become vulnerable and admit our flaws, wounds, and brokenness. More information is available about the destructive aspects of shame in one of my previous articles called Weaponized Shame.
Mask three is the false allusion mask. With this mask, Satan causes us to focus so much on our frequently recurring sins and wounds written on our purple paper, that we actually overlook other sins in our life that might be more displeasing to God. Let’s ask God to reveal these things to us by reciting the words of Psalm 139:23-24, “Probe me O God and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts, point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me on the path to everlasting life.”
We need to pray for the strength to acknowledge our sins and wounds. We are not alone. Everyone needs to be saved. If we are going to be effective in growing God’s Kingdom and bringing others to Christ, we must first remove our own mask. Are you ready to do this?
This ministry was born out of my personal experience. In 2011, while on a silent Christian retreat, God spoke to my heart with these words, “Brian, if you want to be healed you have to tell someone you are broken.” Like everyone else, I had hidden my brokenness and wounds behind my masks. Inspired by God’s message, I found the courage to reveal my wounds and shortcomings. I founded this ministry in order to share this vitally important message through my writings and retreats.
For far too long, shame kept me silent. The silence kept me captive and chained to my sins. When I finally took off my mask and admitted my brokenness and my need for Jesus, I found a profound sense of peace and joy that had previously eluded me in life. My hope is that you will find this same joy and peace by removing your own mask.
Next week we will discover that by taking our mask off we can more fully experience the true, authentic Christian community God has planned for us.
Heavenly Father, I know in my heart, that you know the person I am behind my mask. I know you love the real me. Grant me the courage to allow others to know me as you know me. Father, help me to understand that when I am honest and sincere about my flaws, wounds and need to be saved, it draws others to your son Jesus. Amen!
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There is still time to win your free book. Many of you have already submitted your suggestions. I am writing a yearly devotional book. I am in the process of selecting 52 of the past 4th Day Letters, one for each week of the year. Each one will be presented in the book with a series of questions to reflect on for a week. I am asking for your input. Please write to me and tell me what your favorite 4th Day Letters are. I will randomly draw the names of ten people who respond, and they will receive a FREE copy of the book as soon as it is published. Entries must be received no later than May 28, 2021. The ten winners will be announced on June 1, 2021.