On Wearing a Mask
by Noah Hefley
June 04, 2022
Popular writer and preacher, Charles Swindoll, shares that on one of his birthdays his sister gave him a full-faced rubber mask as a gag gift. She promised him $10 as an additional gift if he would wear the mask in the pulpit one Sunday. That he could not bring himself to do, at least, for a while. Finally, he found the perfect occasion to wear it at a speaking engagement. On that night, without explanation, he stood, walked to the podium and began to address the crowd. They were expecting Swindoll but instead got a masked version of himself. Then he began to speak, of all topics, on the subject of sincerity. Since he was wearing a mask, the crowd found it to be quite funny. Think about it: here he was speaking on being real while wearing a ridiculous mask. His mask cancelled everything we was saying on that subject. The irony of the object lesson served him well evidently. When he finally took off the mask and finished the talk, everybody seemed to get the point.
Swindoll went on to say: “It’s a funny thing, when we wear literal masks, nobody is fooled. But how easy it is to wear invisible ones and fake people out…Did you know that the word hypocrite comes from the ancient Greek plays? An actor would place a large, grinning mask in front of his face and quote his comedy lines as the audience would roar with laughter. He would then slip backstage and grab a frowning mask and come back quoting tragic lines as the audience would moan and weep. Guess what he was called: A hypocrite, one who wears a mask.” (Improving Your serve).
Scripture teaches us repeatedly to live with sincerity. “Love must be sincere” (Romans 12:9). We are to fulfill the command to love with a “sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5). We are to serve others with “glad and sincere hearts” (Acts 2:46). We are called as Christians to embrace a lifestyle of authenticity.
In the words of Harry Hein: “Be who you is, cause if you ain’t who you is, then you is who you ain’t.” Amen!
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