Saturday, September 29, 2012

We wear masks for safety. But grace changes everything.

As I read this book and learn about these different kinds of masks we wear, part of me is always arguing:

Ok, fine, so maybe I do wear some of these masks to make myself look better than I am. But, look, it isn’t safe out there!  I can’t just let all of my ugly hang out and expect to be liked, much less loved! And I want, no, I need to be loved!

She explains, 
“The reason we hide is because we fear if we come out from behind it, we won’t be enough.“ p. 74

I think the author is right about this. It is fear that keeps me hiding behind the masks. Some of it is silly fear, and some of it is realistic fear.

And at this part of the book, I found myself afraid she would start into some silly pep-talk, telling us we are enough in our own way, that our sin isn’t really sin and we all just try so hard and can’t we just lighten up and love each other for who we are already?  Authenticity and tolerance and warm fuzzies! Let’s all pretend sin isn’t sin and make ourselves comfortable together here, with our ugly hanging out. (We might have to shield our eyes a little, but it’s worth it if it makes us all feel good!)
But she doesn't say that.

“The reason we hide is because we fear if we come out from behind it, we won’t be enough.
And the truth is, apart from Christ, we won’t.”

Apart from Christ, we are NOT enough. We are not awesome. We are not perfect mothers or selfless hard-workers or saints who deserve everyone’s love and admiration.
We are sinners.  Just like the first sinners, we hide. From each other, and from God.

We hide from each other
We hide from each other because we know people, and people are not necessarily safe. People can use our weaknesses against us. 
They might judge us. 
They might laugh. 
They might misunderstand us. 
They might hurt us.
We know this, so we wear a mask like a shield, and we try to keep ourselves safe behind it.

We hide from God
What if God is just like people? We aren't sure if He’s safe. We feel our sin, some of it, and we fear. And we hear his Law and we fear even more, and rightly so. We know our sin, and we are afraid to come out of hiding before God, because we don’t want God to make us know it even more.  

So we wield our mask like a shield against Him, against His law, and we hide.

How grace changes things
Our flimsy shields do not keep God from seeing into our hearts. He comes to us, destroying our shields with His word of Law.  He slays us, our self-righteousness, our pride.  
And it’s terrifying.

But then, He gives us new life through the gospel.

Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 
But because of his great love for us, 
God, who is rich in mercy, 
made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—

it is by grace you have been saved. 

And God raised us up with Christ 
and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 
in order that in the coming ages 
he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, 
expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
(Ephesians 2:3-8)

His behavior towards us is radical, shocking, and so surprising it can be hard to believe.
That which we deserve—He has taken upon Himself.   
Instead of wrath, we get grace.
Instead of condemnation, we get mercy.
Instead of death, we get life.
Instead of weakness, we receive strength.

And it is all grace.
All of it.
Our adoption into God’s family, and our life in Him every day thereafter.
Such confidence we have through Christ before God.  Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.  He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Cor 3:4-6)

Grace changes everything.

What happens to the masks?
As we understand who we are in Christ, and find ourselves fully known and yet fully loved, and as we learn to receive all good things from His hand, it changes how we relate to each other, too.

As His love pours out to those around us, we forget to worry about what they are thinking of us. We just serve them, and love them, and ask Him for help when that is hard.

As we taste of the riches of His inheritance, we forget to keep score, and we no longer need the A+.

As we bring our ugliness to Him and receive His grace every time, we forget to hide our ugliness from others. We know we sin, but we know Him who died for that sin, and that is more important.

We learn to point others to Him for grace, help, and security. We stop trying to fill that role ourselves, and we learn to be content in our small callings.

Grace changes everything.

And then, grace upon grace, God puts us in community with others who have tasted of His grace. We live together in that grace, and we breathe in His love for ourselves and breathe it out to each other.

And the masks slowly become unnecessary.

 ---------------------------------
Are you reading Grace for the Good Girl?
What do you think so far?
Read more posts  here.



3 comments:

  1. So thankful for this grace! Thank you for sharing.

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  2. Love that passage of scripture you shared - so wonderful to know that we will share the incomparable riches of His grace through the kindness of Christ. Christ is KIND! Praise God, grace does change everything.

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  3. YES! I have to wonder if at least some of those people hiding behind the masks don't truly understand the far reaching arm of God's grace? That would make sense that the masks have to stay on.

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