Relational Masks

Reasons We Wear Masks

1. We think people won’t love us if they know what we’re really like. If we feel our parents’ love is conditional, we might carry into our adult relationships the fear that others will reject us if they find out we are “unworthy.”

2. We’re afraid people will think we’re not “good Christians.” “If I tell my non-Christian friends about my struggles, they will think I’m a hypocrite,” Roxann explained. “And how can I tell my Christian friends? They might think I’m not a good Christian.”

3. We think people don’t care. When people ask, “How are you doing?” we perceive they are asking out of politeness and not because they want to know.

4. We’re afraid of gossip. Gossip at one time or another has probably affected all of us. As a result, we are reluctant to confide in anyone.

Reasons to Unmask

1. We are called to honesty in our relationships. “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Col. 3:9-10). To Paul, deceit is incompatible with the Christian walk. His honesty leads him to confess his failings to entire groups.

2. We can’t receive help if others don’t know we need it. We are to “bear with each other” (Col. 3:13); “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thess. 5:11); and “love one another deeply, from the heart” (1 Pet. 1:22). But how can people support us if we pretend to be just fine?

3. Our honesty frees others to be honest. If we admit that we grapple with questions of faith, we give others permission to do the same.

4. Our honesty gives God the glory. Paul boasted about his weaknesses, “so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” We may think God will be glorified by our appearance of perfection. But God is truly glorified by our admission of weakness and our full dependence on His sufficient grace.

—Sandy Sheppard
From Discipleship Journal