With the recent trend of scary clowns, people have become more and more aware of the presence of masks. As these clowns, masquerading as something they are not, wander the streets late at night, they are able to instill a sense of fear into those around them. Yet, to be perfectly honest, no one actually believes they are real, professional clowns. Somehow the image of what they are pretending to represent has become skewed into something that is less than authentic and less than real. Clowns were intended to be a source of humor and fun, but from the masks, the true representation of how they were designed is lost.
Yet, the scariest masks we face are not the ones we wear on the outside, but the mask that we portray in our faith. We do a great deal of things to present the image that we feel we should best portray to be a “Good Christian.” This idea has been planted in our head that there is a certain mold we must fit and image we must present or our faith isn’t real. We spend an incredible amount of time trying to convince people that we are fine, but no one actually believes it. Deep down, we know that we are broken.
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:17-18, NIV
We seek to present a polished person, perfect in every way. A person who never weeps, never cries, never gets scared. Yet no one buys this mask we wear. Like a costume, no one truly believes the false facade of perfection that people wear. We feel the brokenness underneath the mask simply because the temptation to wear that same mask lies deeply rooted within ourselves.
Acknowledge The Brokenness
Our mask of being put together, for the sake of our spiritual growth and health, must give way to the authenticity of our brokenness. Bluntly and sadly put, it is easy to tell when someone’s “unbrokenness” is a false image of themselves. Just like regular masks, even well done ones don’t look right. Even worse, when we don the mask of pretending we are all put together, we bring the healing and restoration to a grinding halt. Our fear is that we will be judged or left out if people knew how broken we actually were. “If they could only see the real me,” we think to ourselves “then they would know how undeserving of love I am.”
But that is the whole point of Grace. We have not, cannot, and will not ever deserve the love of God, yet we receive it all the same. We are children of God constantly growing and in constant need of discipleship. As such, life is ridiculously messy. We are not expected to come to God having everything put together, but to lay ourselves bare at the foot of the cross, knowing we are accepted into the loving arms of Christ. By removing the mask of perfection, we can present our brokenness and contrite heart before God. We can approach God in our filth, mess, and terrible state, knowing that our God loves us just the same at our worst.
Allow Yourself to Heal
Yet, the temptation that is commonly seen is to sit in our brokenness. To glorify the brokenness, claiming that God loves our brokenness. But that just isn’t true. God does not love our brokenness. God loves us while we are still broken. As the Great Physician and Healer, God’s desire to bring us to wholeness, not to leave us broken.
We cannot simply revel in our brokenness, never moving into the great life that God has for us while declaring that we are put back together. While God is a God of Grace, he is also a God of restoration. The hope that was once lost can be restored. The purpose that was missing can be found. The dreams that you have watched sail by can be given once again, new and fresh. As we approach the throne of God with who we are laid bare, we can walk with Jesus as He heals the broken hearted. We can move forward in our relationship and restoration.