Pastor David Rayner
Special to The Guardian
When I was young, Halloween was a fun time of the year. It had nothing to do with witches and ghosts, it was all about the candy and dressing up … well, maybe more about the candy.
In those days, most kids wore Halloween masks. You may know the type I mean? They were thin plastic masks with tiny eye holes which never lined up with your eyes. On a brisk Oct. 31 evening, they formed condensation on the inside and made your face wet. They also had a thin elastic strap which always seemed to break, usually by the time you went out the door. But boy, it was fun! Did I mention there was candy?
The fun part of wearing the mask was being able to fool my neighbours. Even though they knew me well, most had a hard time guessing my identity, asking for hints to help try and figure it out. I loved it when they finally gave up and asked me to tell them who I was. There was something thrilling about hiding behind my mask.
Now that I am older, I don’t dress up for Halloween anymore, but there are times when I still wear a mask. It seems easier to hide behind an invisible mask when people are around: a mask designed to fool others into assuming my day is going well and I am in control of my life, a mask I put on to hide anger, frustration, worry, guilt or shame.
Do you ever put on a mask like that?
I know I am not the only one. There are so many people out there wearing masks trying to hide their hurt, pain, guilt, feelings of worthlessness or feelings of depression and emptiness.
Scripture reminds me that even though I may be able to put on a mask and fool the people around me, I cannot fool God. Scripture reveals to me that God knows who I am, He knows how I am feeling, what I am experiencing or thinking. He knows what is causing me pain and what I am trying to hide from everyone around me, even from Him.
Psalm 69:5 tells me that I cannot simply put on a mask and hide my guilt from God. In Luke 22: 47-48 Judas thought he could hide his act of betrayal from Jesus by putting on a mask of pleasantry, but Jesus could see his true intent. John 8: 2-9 tells us that the Pharisees wore masks in order to appear righteous and God honouring, but Jesus knew the true desire of their heart.
Unlike my neighbours, Jesus sees right through my masks, and I am so grateful he does. Scripture tells us that God knows us better than we know ourselves because He made us. I am glad we have a Creator who knows our hurt, our confusion, our guilt and shame. Trying to pretend that we have it all under control is useless. Let’s face it, there is no way we can live this life perfectly without Jesus Christ. He knows all about our imperfections, all about the sin we are guilty of, sin we are frustrated and angry with ourselves for having committed. And only when we take off the mask and be honest with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ can healing begin and forgiveness take place.
Be honest. Are you wearing a mask? Isn’t it time you asked Jesus to help you to take it off? Isn’t it time you asked him to forgive you of the things you have been so desperately trying to hide?
There is nothing more freeing than to know you are forgiven and no longer need to hide from God because of fear and guilt. God sent His son Jesus Christ to this earth to reveal the truth about God through his life and teachings. He sent Him to be the sacrifice for our sins so that whoever believes in Him, repents of their sin and is obedient to Him and His commands can have the ultimate joy, which is forgiveness and freedom from sin.
Are you ready to take off the mask?
Now, where did my wife hide that Halloween candy?
David Rayner is with Connection Point Christian Church. A guest sermon runs regularly in Saturday’s Guardian and is provided through Christian Communications.