Remove the Masks

As a counselor, I am sometimes unable to relate to the experiences that individuals are going through, but then there are times that I can relate to their circumstances as I have walked a mile or two in their shoes. Simply being able to relate to someone’s pain is powerful within itself and I’m convinced there isn’t a more powerful phrase that can lift someone’s spirit as “me too.” This simple phrase immediately alleviates pain and anxiety as it assures others that they aren’t alone in their struggle or battle.

It’s no secret that people all around us are hurting. There are those we work with and share a pew with every Sunday who are wounded and broken from life. Maybe sickness has left your family in disarray.  Maybe your marriage is about to dissolve. Perhaps it’s addiction that has left you broken, leaving your friends and family to pick up the pieces. Whatever the pain, whatever the situation, we must understand this one truth: we all bleed and we all are broken. It’s easy to cast a judgmental finger at the addict and be disgusted by their choices. But let’s be real…we all are one bad decision…one wrong acquaintance away from being devoured by sin.  We as Christians have developed a warped mentality that we can’t allow others to know we struggle or that we’re also wounded. Every day, especially Sunday, we put on our masks so we can hide all the mess…all the wounds that we so desperately try to keep hidden. After all, if people knew the real us how would they react?

Do you recall what Jesus did with his disciples after his resurrection? He showed them his wounds (John 24:39). In fact, He even allowed Thomas to touch his wounds in order to diminish his doubts. You see, when Jesus revealed his wounds to his friends he removed all their fear and anxieties. Simply put, Jesus put his wounds and scars on display as his triumphant victory over sin. If He was able to do just that, why are we as Christians so afraid to show others our own wounds and scars? Perhaps this is why so many are turned off by the church in today’s culture. While they’re struggling through life and wounded by sin, we the church walk in Sunday after Sunday with our neat, clean masks on and send the message that we can’t relate to “those people.”

When we as Christians mask and cover up our own wounds, we also mask and cover up the beautiful story of our healing, and in doing so, we strip God of His glory. God specializes in taking messes and making masterpieces. For heaven’s sake…please remove the masks! We will never introduce those around us to our wounded Savior if we refuse to show them our own wounds. Until we as Christians remove our masks and reveal our own wounds, neither us nor those around us will ever begin to heal. In removing our masks, everyone begins to heal and everyone begins to understand the beautiful story of God’s redemption. Anne Lamott writes,

“It’s not helpful to tell each other cute things we saw on bumper stickers…it’s condescending and patronizing…but yet two very short sentences do help and have saved me more often than I can recount: the most important is “me too.” Yes, joyous and scared, chosen and lonely, healing, and cuckoo, all at once. Yet. Me too.”

So many individuals are hurting and so many more are doing so silently as they feel as though no one understands their pain. No one understands their struggle. They are too wounded…too messed up. When we remove our masks and reveal our own pain, we are simply saying “me too…you’re not alone in this.” In my experience as a counselor, sometimes all someone needs in order to turn the corner in their healing is to simply know that someone has walked in their shoes and knows how they feel. We all are surrounded by individuals every day that are looking for answers and wondering why life has dealt them such a hand. Don’t be afraid to reveal your wounds and your brokenness to them. Perhaps in doing so you will unlock the door that leads to their healing (and yours too). Strive to be intentional in all that you do. And for heaven’s sake folks, take off the masks and let Jesus speak through your wounds. Our wounds and our scars are trophies of God’s grace. When we put them on display for the world to see, we allow those same scars and same wounds to point others to the Savior who can heal them. “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

I’ll leave you with the video “Stained Glass Masquerade” by Casting Crowns. Take time and listen to the message and be blessed.

Praying for you always,
Dustin

 

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