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REFLECTIONS: Masked or Unmasked?

The tension that exists between those who believe we should wear masks as a protective measure against the coronavirus and those who oppose them leaves us with an ideal illustration or parable for life. Perhaps you felt tension as you read the title of this article, wondering what opinion would be expressed about the topic. However, this is not an article to discuss coronavirus. It is, instead, an article to discuss the tensions we experience internally and externally because we humans wear masks – not the kind that cover our nose and mouth, but the kind that are meant to hide uncomfortable truth.

This kind of masking happens in various ways and in various degrees all of the time. It may be seen in the bully on the playground who is masking his feelings of insecurity or in the woman who downs a few drinks to cover the inhibitions she feels when meeting new people. It is seen in the domestic abuser who hides his disrespect for women by casting blame on the victim for making him angry. It is so common in our own lives that we often fail to recognize the truth when it is staring us in the face.

Masking uncomfortable truths is as old as time. It finds its origins in the Garden of Eden. You may know the story well. God placed Adam and Eve in the garden and established one boundary that they were never meant to cross. There was a tree in the garden called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God asked them not to eat the fruit of that tree and even explained the consequences that would result in disregarding His instructions. They did not need the nourishment of that tree because God planned to guide them into everything good, if they would take the time to listen to Him. However, a serpent came along, masked the truth with a lie, convinced them to do otherwise, and immediately, something shifted in their world. They were uncomfortable with the truth and they felt the need to don a mask. The Bible tells us “they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings” and they “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord.” (Genesis 2:7-8 NKJV) They were trying to cover the uncomfortable truth of their disobedience.

Since that day, individuals have felt the tension of the mask and unmask debate. Unmasking leaves us feeling vulnerable and weak. This impacts our emotions, our decisions, our actions, and our relationships. It is uncomfortable to expose our fears, our hurts, our mistakes, or our sin, so we mask these things with something just as inadequate as the fig leaves that Adam and Eve used.

In some cases, we may not intend to keep the mask on for long – just long enough to get ahold of our emotions or just long enough to come to terms with who we are or what we have done – maybe just long enough to change. Masking uncomfortable truth may work for a season, but the Bible says “…there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light.” (Mark 4:22 NKJV)

When we stand before God, there is only one covering that will not be stripped away. It is the covering that He provided for us through Jesus Christ. It is the only protective layer that is sufficient to cover our inadequacies in the presence of a holy God. Romans 4:7-8 says, “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” (ESV) This is a precious gift that comes to us through faith in Christ. One day, we can stand before God unmasked, yet completely covered by His love and grace. The devil has been trying to hide this truth since the beginning of time. Pay no attention to the tension he brings with the masks he wears, instead embrace the protective covering of Jesus Christ for all the uncomfortable truths in your life.

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