Years of working in bars and restaurants taught me to put on a mask. The reason was because that customers do not want to be waited on by a sad, depressed, angry or bitter, waitress. So no matter how I was feeling, I had to cover it up with a happy mask. Concealing how I felt because I was there to do a job, and you will not get tips when you appear miserable. Even when I had to serve customers who were rude abusive, or vulgar, I had to laugh and put a smile on my face, and be pleasant to them.
Now the same can be said about people in church. I had heard the term ‘Church face’ and I thought it was an appropriate description. We cover up what is really going on inside because we are afraid of being judged or rejected. We also do not our faith to be questioned. (This does not mean when you are struggling with emotional or other issues you have lost faith, it just means you are human and we have our weaknesses that we individually have to deal with.) Yet one reason for fellowship is so that we can help each other. It is like the wedding vow, in sickness and in health, in good times and bad, and for better or worse. The church is the bride of Christ. We are His body, arms, legs, hands, feet, eyes and ears, the list goes on. When we put on our masks to conceal our true feelings, our frustrations, our disappointments, etc… We are closing the door on receiving the loving help we so desperately need. God said it was not good for man to be alone. This was not just for a man and woman to be married. We need each other. Scripture tells us if two are walking and one falls into a ditch the other is there to help them out.
We need to take off our masks. I know that it is scary to expose ourselves and be vulnerable, but it is in our weakness that God is the strongest. One of God’s blessings in my life are the people He gave to me to be my true friends. These are people who I can be real with. They have seen me when I have been at my worse. When I have been so angry that I was intolerable to be around. When I was too depressed that I did not want to go on. They have listened to my screams,and let me cry till there were no more tears to fall. When I have felt that all hope is lost, they have sat quietly, showing great compassion. They do not try to fix me, or tell me what I am doing wrong. They show me they love me by just accepting me as I am. Many times they just sit quietly and listen. Their presence alone giving comfort. When they speak, they use words of encouragement. They never doubt my faith, but remind me that they know how strong my faith is, and that Jesus loves me at all times, just as they do.
I thank God for these friends, who have let me remove my mask without any fear. I can be myself with them, no masks, no pretending. God uses these people to hug me, and hold me, and to speak words to encourage and heal me when I am hurting more than I feel that I could bear. If you take off your mask you will find there are people already in your life who God has blessed you with. who will do the same for you as my friends have done for me. You won’t know these people till you take off your mask though. So take off your mask and see truth. See God’s amazing love for you.