Many years ago, Casting Crowns released a song entitled “Stained Glass Masquerade.” It was a haunting, convicting song about the masks we wear to church each Sunday to cover our insecurities, flaws, and sinfulness.
So I tuck it all away, like everything’s okay
If I make them all believe it, maybe I’ll believe it too
So with a painted grin, I play the part again
So everyone will see me the way that I see them
Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
But if the invitation’s open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade
And the same happens every Sunday in our church and churches around the country. We falsify an image, a façade, in order to impress other masked men and women. Unfortunately, we can hide behind the falsehood so long that we actually convince ourselves we are the person we are pretending to be.
- Our self-righteousness is really arrogance and pride, leading to a patronizing “holier than thou” mentality.
“I’m glad I’m not like those sinners.”
“My kids are better than their kids. They must really be sorry parents.”
“I’ve taught in this church for 30 years. You can’t teach me anything.”
“I have a KJV Scofield, signed by King James himself.”
“I don’t have to do what anyone says. I answer only to God.”
“If I were pastor of this church, I’d change some things.”
“I may not be perfect, but I’m better than most of the folks in this church.”
- Our touchiness or wearing our feelings on our sleeve leaves us easily hurt and offended, and people tiptoe around us and fear upsetting our fragile exterior. These mask-wearers are overly sensitive, demand attention, keep a record of wrongs, and are selfish at the core.
- When we wear the mask of impatience, we hold ourselves in such high esteem that we think the world should stop and take directions from us. We are the center of the universe and only our timetable, our agenda, and our to-do list matters. These people demand unreasonable perfection and get easily frustrated when others don’t meet their standards.
- The mask of isolation keeps everyone at an arm’s length. “Don’t get too close to me. . . . Don’t expect me to be held accountable. . . . I’m not comfortable openly sharing my heart.” Yet God has called us to bear one another’s burdens.
You and I could list dozens of other masks, and probably identify our own rather quickly. The purpose of this article isn’t to raise your awareness of other people’s masks, resulting in finger-pointing or irrational judgment. Rather, I pray the Lord moves in your own heart and you recognize the masks you wear and are willing to remove them and move forward.
Turn to Christ.
Admit your condition. Swallow your pride. Take God at His Word and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit to live a victorious Christian life. Agree with what God says about what you are hiding. Turn the light on in the dark places of your heart and be open and exposed before the Lord.
Remove the mask and get real.
The reign of the old life has ended and you live in the power of the resurrected life. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom! Move from flesh to faith and allow the Spirit of God to change you into His likeness from glory to glory.
God is ready, are you?
God only expects failure from the flesh. That’s why you need the Holy Spirit – apart from Him you can do nothing. God isn’t seeking to lay a guilt trip on you. He is seeking those who will surrender all to Him and let Him do in you what you could never do on your own.