Why do we shame each other? You hear it in church all the time. “Shame on him! Shame on her! That is so wrong!” You might even say it to yourself.
This is a terrible way for us to hurt each other. Can you honestly say that you have never lived in your flesh? You’ve never acted out? Never cut someone off in traffic? Never flipped someone off? Never yelled at someone? Never gossiped? Never had a bad thought about anybody? Never lied? I know you can’t say that, because none of us can.
But we shame one another anyway. Why?
We do it because we don’t understand trust. We don’t understand that we have a companion and savior we can trust, named Jesus. We don’t understand that we can seek and find a few people who will love us no matter what. We don’t even dare to imagine what that could be like. So we wear masks in the hope of hiding our shame. We try to show, “Nope! I’m perfect! This is who I am!”
It’s not true. Masks are fakes, and they are uncomfortable fakes. Kids take their Halloween masks off all the time, right? Masks are uncomfortable and they don’t want to wear them anymore. You will get hot and sweaty behind your mask, too. You won’t breathe well at all. Masks may start out comfortable, but they won’t stay that way for long.
It’s not fun to wear a mask, but that’s what happens when you try to hide your shame. You think, “I’m not a good person, so who will love me? I have to look like I’m good. I’m going to have to fake it. I’m going to have to put on this mask. It’s going to make me look like I’m always doing well, and I’m going to always try to act as if it’s true.”
It’s very exhausting.
It’s so freeing to get into relationships where you don’t have to hide your flaws. It’s so freeing just to be liked, flaws and all. It’s even more freeing to be liked and loved, just as you are. When that happens, it’s easier to accept that you will make mistakes and have problems. The flesh will always be the flesh, but there is grace for us in Jesus and in the people He brings into our lives. Mistakes, problems and flaws all come with the territory, but in trust, you are freed from the shame of it. You’re free! Just because a few people love you, and even like you.
In Christ, the truth will set you free. There’s no condemnation now. Grace abounds over sin, and you are invited to live in grace. You can live a righteous life.
That’s what happens when you take off the mask and let people see the Spirit of God.