Take Off The Mask

Did you get dressed up for Halloween as a child? I remember many boys becoming superheroes and many girls transforming into princesses. It seemed that the more elaborate the costume, the more fun the experience was overall.

After you brought home your loot of candy, getting dressed up had served its purpose. The costumes were put away, you took off your mask and returned back to your normal self.

Sadly, some never take off their masks. They wear them throughout the year. They do it not for candy, but for the admiration of others and in the hope that they might please God. They’re afraid of revealing what is under the mask and may even try to hide it from themselves.

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This is a common struggle for our Mormon friends. They try to satisfy impossible expectations. Their community is based on their performance so they’re never allowed to admit failure. They’re never allowed to be a sinner. They’re forced to conceal their sin from themselves and others.

Wendy Nelson, wife of the current LDS president, has recognized this phenomenon in Mormon culture: “You look around and everyone else is tall and straight and reaching to heaven, so to speak. They have everything figured out. They wear the perfect clothes, always seem to say the right things, have no problems, are perfectly obedient—and seem never to have made a mistake in their lives” (Hope of Israel, June 2018).

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One of our ex-LDS friends, Amanda, recently shared:

“I wore the good little Mormon girl mask. I did at church, I did at school, I did at every activity. I knew I was doing it. I had to wear the mask. I would guess that at least 75% of Mormons wear that mask.”

 During a dark time in his life King David wore a mask. He broke God’s commands of murder and adultery. He thought he could just sweep them under the rug. It seemed like he hid it from everyone – but not God. The masks people wear in front of others do them no good before God. David described that time: “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away…your hand was heavy upon me” (Psalm 32:3-4).

The Bible forces us to come to grips with the reality and magnitude of our sin. It forces you to take off the mask and confront your sin. But it also creates a community where it’s safe to be open about your struggles and people encourage one another. And most important, it’s here that you discover the power of God’s amazing grace. Your brokenness is made whole. You’re healed. You’re forgiven.

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“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Friends, be a safe place for those still wearing a mask. Be open about your struggles and invite them to be open about theirs. Then point them to Jesus. In his loving promises we discover a picture of ourselves as his redeemed children that is more beautiful than anything we could ever imagine. The greatest part is, in Christ, that is who we really are.

Jon LeachComment