A friend of mine just bought a face mask (COVID-kind) that makes him look like Mr. Bean. It’s a wonder the entrepreneurs didn’t think of this sooner! So whose face would you want to wear? As much as we might begrudge wearing masks, I wonder if we’re more used to ‘masking up’ than we might often admit.
We often put barriers between us and the world – maybe not three layers of cloth, with pictures of raccoons, as I have recently worn – but other kinds. We give an appearance and impression to the world which is different to what is ‘behind the mask’. We present serenity and control when we feel anxious and scared. We present confidence and power when we feel uncertain and weak. We put on masks. And they can be pretty convincing.
They don’t really help of course. The healthiest thing is for us to be known by those close to us; to establish trusting relationships in which we can be honest, where love can thrive. Right at the heart of the Christian message is the fact that we can not only know God, but that we can be known by God. In 1 Corinthians 8:3 Paul writes that “if anyone loves God, they are known by God”. The good news is that we can have a relationship with God through Jesus in which God knows us – completely! To have the creator of the universe see and know the things I normally mask from others might seem horrifying. And it would be, unless He was a loving and gracious God, willing to forgive those who come to Him, and to change them for the better.
The Bible’s answer to our fear and anxiety is to throw away our masks (not the cloth ones. Keep that for now…) and come to God – sin, blemishes and all – and be known by Him. And once we’ve found that we’re known by God, we’ll find it easier to lower our masks in our relationships with each other too.