Unmasked

“She had blue skin,
And so did he.
He kept it hid
And so did she.
They searched for blue
Their whole life through,
Then passed right by-
And never knew.”

― Shel Silverstein, Every Thing on It

This semester I was part of a freshmen mentoring class through the Honors College. Every week, my co-mentor and I were tasked with imparting information to twelve freshmen that would theoretically change the course of their college experience. One of ours stopped showing up about halfway through the semester. We wrote him off as a lazy guy who didn’t want to do the work this class required, and I didn’t find out the truth until today.

This entire semester he’s been struggling with a family crisis, and not only did we not know, we never even considered the possibility of there being a reason he started missing class. He’d acted normally up to that point, so we assumed he was fine. That is a problem that has become so much more prevalent lately, especially in the church.

As Christians, we get really good at putting up facades. Masking ourselves and our true struggles because looking ideal is safer than being vulnerable. The crazy thing is that everyone does it, and if we all just took down our walls for a second, no one would consider putting them back up. We get so used to the idea of people as their facade makes them look and assume that our unmasked face would horrify them. But the reality is that everyone’s true self is just as bad as the next, because surprise–WE’RE ALL SINNERS.

Since I came to college I’ve embraced the idea of trying to live mask-less. I struggle with it every day, because I, as a human, want everyone to like me. But the times when I manage to give up that stronghold and turn it over to God have been the most rewarding experiences of college so far.

I know that masks, facades, and walls are sometimes all people see Christianity as being. They picture Christianity to be all the happy little Christians sitting down and praying together, blessing their food. But they never think about small groups where everyone cries. They don’t consider the beauty of baptism as a gifting of yourself to God. They don’t see the love and affirmation that goes into getting people back on track sometimes. Because they don’t let their guard down long enough to see that real life change will happen when they do.

Masks are a way of keeping ourselves from seeing the glory of God and all that He can do. Try sliding off your mask, just a little bit. You’ll never want to put it back on.

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