Being involved in theatre for most of my life has taught me how to become someone else for a short time – to shed my own persona and live in a different time, place or situation. We all wear masks throughout life. We hide behind them because we don’t want people to see our failures or judge us. Masks can cover a multitude of sins, but at the end of the day, they come off and we face reality.
Hiding doesn’t always mean closing yourself off from the world. You may simply not want to bother people with your problems or would rather let them think you’re living the good life. Living in a world filled with trouble – in homes that are less than perfect – relationships that are hanging by a thread – financial burdens, job loss, health issues – we try to hide the truth.
When we’re in the workplace, at school, with a group of fellow Christians, we put on our “perfect” mask. If we bore people with the yuckiness of our lives, we may not have any friends – so we lie and say, “I’m fine.” We might have a mask of “complacency” one day and one of “confidence” another. Each one is covering up the truth.
Our hearts may inwardly be longing for someone to share our situation with, but we feel we’re letting our guard down or becoming vulnerable. I’m currently blessed to be attending a small, country church. This refuge has been like a family to us. We gather to worship, but also to share things that trouble us and to be encouraged by our family. Still, we don’t know the extent of how another might be suffering. We still obliterate those secret sins.
When we ask someone how they’re doing, we don’t always expect the truth. Still it’s tough to leave out the dark parts of our lives. For those things, the only One we can truly trust is Jesus. He walked in our shoes. He knows what sorrow is. He knows the sting of death and disease. He lived a life of poverty even though He bore the title of King. He was tempted personally by the devil. He got tired, ate, taught, drew crowds, yet he never had a home of His own. A man of sorrows they called Him. He knows what our darkest secrets are and He loves us anyway. His life was dedicated to saving the world
The next time you ask someone how they’re doing, listen to their response. Be compassionate, empathic and understanding. We can’t do anything to change another person’s situation, but we can support and pray for them. Usually when someone says, “I’m fine,” it’s just a cover up for a mess they’re dealing with. You might be surprised that someone is pushing through some of the same things you are. That little phrase can be a call for help.