During this challenge, I’ve been asked a lot of questions about whether shedding our masks means we don’t need to be polite. Some of them sound like this:
“So you’re saying I’m supposed to tell the world all my secrets in order to #ShedTheMask?”
“But what if my masks are socially acceptable?”
“Wouldn’t our relationships be a lot less polite if we all #ShedTheMask?”
“If I #ShedTheMask, and just said everything that runs through my head, the world might NOT be a better place…”
I’ve realized — some polite clarity is needed.
Shedding the mask doesn’t mean tossing good manners out the window.
It isn’t liberty to speak every cruel or unconstructive thing I may feel.
It isn’t a requirement to broadcast details on every mistake I’ve ever made, or a demand to publicly share my darkest secrets and struggles — unless God calls me to do so.
Don’t confuse masks with the godly qualities of maturity expressed through self-control, self-discipline, self-restraint, and carrying oneself with dignity. Being polite doesn’t automatically equate wearing a mask. Sure, it can be a mask, if I use politeness as a shield to avoid living with honesty or to hide from what God is calling me to say and do. But being polite isn’t generally a thing we need to cultivate less of.
The confusion comes when we confuse things like self-control (a positive biblical principle) with self-reliance (lack of belief and trust in God). Self-control is a positive quality to be encouraged and developed as we grow and change and become less controlled by sinful desires.
Self-reliance is a mask to be shed in exchange for God-reliance, trading my self-trust for God-trust, relinquishing my visceral human compulsion to stay in control, handing the reins to Jesus and allowing Him to be the one in charge of my life.
Ultimately, what may be a mask for one person will not necessarily be a mask for another.
The deep heart work of #ShedTheMask is rooted in analyzing my own heart and asking myself whether I am using it to hide from God’s love and His calling toward growth.
The masks I need to shed are the facades that keep me from asking for help, from embracing the painful yet rewarding path of healing, and from – in turn – sharing my story for the purpose of giving hope of healing to others.
The redemption begins in accepting God’s forgiveness and letting go of my doubt in His incredible love for me. Redemption grows in my journey through the layers of analysis and change. Redemption takes root as I am courageous enough to speak aloud of what He has done.
I believe this is why the apostle John says of Satan: “And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.”
Because these two go hand in hand – the healing of Jesus’ sacrifice PLUS the courage to speak out and tell my story.
Our collective stories of healing, growth, change, and transformation.