“Behind the Mask”

                We are living in strange days indeed! Everywhere I go now, I can see almost everyone wearing masks or some type of face covering. In some places, you must wear a mask or you will not be able to enter their premises at all. In addition to this, other citizens have taken the unpaid job of “Coronavirus Vigilantes” to watch out for those who violate the CDC and government guidelines.

                This is so surreal and in a way it reminds me of one of those futuristic movies where cities are deserted and the government exercises total control over the surviving population in the name of “safety” and protection. It also reminds me of the terrible years I lived in Cuba, under a totalitarian and communist dictatorship.

                Wearing masks have always been a part of the attire of surgeons, construction workers, nail technicians and a few others. Masks are also the go-to outfit for criminals. Who can forget the masked bandits of the Wild West and the bank robbers of today?

                Wearing a mask has always been a problem for me. I cannot breathe well with a mask on and in addition to that, the mask fibers make me sneeze and fog up my glasses. Wearing a mask in public during this pandemic, however, has given me a certain degree of anonymity in public places. I can now understand the allure that Masked Parties (also called Balls) holds over some people.

                People have been wearing behavior “masks” for thousands of years. We wear masks to conceal our anger, anxiety, disgust, embarrassment, frustration, sadness and many other similar emotions, behaviors and attitudes. We rarely bare our souls in front of others.

                Christians also engage in this masking game. We go to church wearing our “Sunday best” and with a big (sometimes fake) smile plastered on our faces. No one needs to know our pain, failures or defeats. We must, as someone has said in the past, “fake it until we make it.”

                This is not how Christians should live. We must get rid of all masks and start living a radical and sincere brand of Christianity. We must be genuine and transparent in our relationship with Christ and with our brothers and sisters.

                “Sincerity” in the original Latin, means that which is pure, clean and unadulterated. Our love for each other must be sincere; our words should be truthful and sincere and our actions must also be sincere. Remember the words of the apostles in this regard:

                “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22)

                “…that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:10)

                I don’t know if you like to wear physical masks or not, but I pray that you and I will remove all the masks that keep us apart and that we will come together as one in Christ.

                A. G

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