June 2021 by Sheologie
Unmasked and Unashamed
I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Isaiah 61:10 (NIV)
As the nation returns to semi-normal and the hopes of many rest on putting social distancing, face masks, and other pandemic-related practices behind us, I have a bold statement to make: We have all been wearing masks and social distancing long before COVID-19.
In Genesis we see the creation of man and woman. Genesis 2:25 tells us they were both naked and unashamed. While they were naked in the literal sense, they were also naked figuratively. Adam and Eve were emotionally and spiritually honest and vulnerable. They were living authentically. They were living unmasked.
But sin changed everything and shame came into the picture.
In the next chapter, we see the first masks ever crafted as Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened causing them to sew together fig leaves to cover their inadequacies. They used these leaves to hide from one another, from God, and ultimately from themselves.
And we have been “masked up” ever since, using our own versions of fig leaves to hide the things we believe make us unworthy, less than, broken beyond repair, and even unlovable. We hide things we think make us “bad Christians” because we struggle with them: addictions, imperfections, sins. Like Adam and Eve, we hide the things that bring us shame.
So, we perform and perfect the wearing of our masks. We attempt to hide in darkness the things which we fear will cause rejection if known by others. We act like we have it all together in order to craft a perfect image, and we hustle for our worthiness. We participate in this masquerade with others, never allowing the real us, the unmasked us, to be seen because we fear exposure and judgment.
And when the threat of unmasking appears, we isolate—we socially distance ourselves —as a means of protection. We exchange community for darkness and connection for confinement. We live in bondage to our masks, imprisoned by shame. The walls we build to protect us only create a prison.
But my dear sisters, if you only hear one thing today please hear this: you have a Father who sees you, knows you, and loves you.
God sees through our masks. That’s not meant to scare you. It’s meant to free you. He sees you fully and still loves you deeply. To Him there is no such thing as too broken, too far gone, or too flawed.
He sees the tears rolling down your cheeks. He feels the ache in your heart as yet another piece of it breaks. He sees the sorrow hidden behind the smile you fake to disguise your pain. He sees you desperately grasping for love, value, and worth in things or people which only leaves you feeling even more empty or hopeless.
He sees you. The real you. And He delights in you.
God calls you deeply loved (see John 3:16), redeemed (see Ephesians 1:7) and set apart (see Deuteronomy 14:2). Why? Because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Through the cross Jesus took our shame, our flaws, our inadequacies, and our sin upon His own shoulders. He exchanged places with us and provided grace in return.
The power of sin is in the hiding, in living the double life, the masked life. Yet shame has no power over you because of the beautiful grace God extended to us through the cross (see Romans 6:14). Because of the cross, you are fully loved, fully accepted, and fully forgiven.
The deepest desire of our hearts is to be truly seen and wholly loved. To be naked and unashamed. To live unmasked and free. The cross enables that for us! Remove the masks and lay them down at the foot of the cross, draw near to His throne of grace, and replace your fig leaves of shame for the robes of righteousness God has already set aside for you.