“My hope and prayer is that all masks be taken off. It could be a mask of misunderstanding as this boy. It could be a mask of pride and ignorance for those who hate correction and love following their own sinful desires. Or a mask driven by expectations for those who feel pressured to act a certain way due to their Christian family roots.”
I feel that there is a lot more that can be said concerning these three different kinds of masks. The example given for the mask of misunderstanding was a very basic level example. The more I read this passage here, I realized that it is often the mask of misunderstanding that becomes the foundation for the other two masks. A mask of misunderstanding can convince someone that they can earn “club status” by becoming a knowledgeable Christian. And this club status mentality regarding Christianity is what fuels a false sense of security, arrogance in their gained understanding, and pride in their achieved Christian status. It’s the modern-day Pharisee; even with Christ standing in front of them as the fulfillment to the law in the Torah they hold to so dearly, they rebuked him. Just as those today who stand wearing a mask of pride refusing to humble themselves before Christ because they have built themselves status and respect among their peers that needs to be sustained. Luke 18:10-14 says,
“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
“God, I thank you that I am seen as great in my church and community. I thank you that I follow the law so well. I thank you for the wealth I have accumulated. Thank you that I am not Donald Trump or Joe Biden and do not have their mannerisms.” Oh, the platform of pride and arrogance we place ourselves on when our “faith” becomes comparative. And oh, how artificial it truly is if that’s how we treat it as. It’s treated as if Christ died to enable the free market to decide who can and can’t make it to heaven. That by competition of good works, the righteous are made known. Therefore, all reason for humility, gentleness, and love are deemed unnecessary because Christian club status is all that matters. And to be seen and recognized as righteous is greater than genuinely knowing Christ as your Savior. But to recognize Christ as your savior, you must first recognize the need for a savior. As Matthew 10:39 says,
“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Salvation only comes to those who offer themselves up as living sacrifices for Christ. It’s to those who lower themselves in humility to the calling of Christ, come to the reality of their inescapable sinful nature, and confess to the Lord that they be saved from the punishment of spiritual death we all rightfully deserve. There is truly nothing we have done or can do to deserve this free gift more than anyone else. The pride or expectation is artificial. I was once told that great leaders are those who don’t always have to be right but are always real. In our condition of being saved by grace, we must always remain real to the reality of our weaknesses and not try to puff ourselves up to something greater than those around us. And for those wearing this mask of pride who do not truly know God as their savior, I pray that God humbles your heart before you are humbled at the judgement seat with eternity in the wrath of God.