We learn early in life to hide how we feel and who we really are. It’s like preparing our children to play the game of life as if it were Poker.

Like our parents before us, we do it to protect our children. It’s common knowledge that the world is made up of a lot of people that will prey on who they perceive as weak.

This is true not only in physical predators that live among us, but sometimes also the ones closest to us. Certainly everyone else that falls in between.

Before our oldest two daughters went to college they spent some time in self-defense classes, learning how first to avoid an attack by being aware of potential dangers and looking the danger squarely in the eyes. Secondly, in the event of an attack how to turn the predator into the prey.

The mask worn in this scenario is a mask of courage. Put on to portray a strong confident person ready and willing to fight.

I read a book back in the 80’s by one of the pioneers of the secular “self-help” authors and speakers. In his book, he explained in detail how to act to get what you wanted in life. I recall one of his techniques was called “mirroring.”

This technique basically was to slowly do what the person you were trying to sell or persuade was doing. If the person crossed their legs, you would eventually cross yours. Thereby copying or “mirroring” the person being persuaded.

Subconsciously the person being persuaded would naturally become drawn to the seller, by seeing in the salesman the same characteristics as themselves. I guess we could call this form of manipulation the “mirror mask.”

Many times the most popular masks are the ones we wear in front of our spouse and family. There was a song in the 70’s by Billy Joel. This was the title track of the album that put him on the charts so to speak. The song is titled “The Stranger.”

The song was about a couple who wore masks around each other and never revealed themselves or the truth. My favorite line in the song wasn’t the chorus. It was the climax of the song-story. It went, “When I pressed her for the reason, she refused to even answer, it was then I felt the stranger kick me right between the eyes.”

At home should be the last place to wear a mask. Even The Lone Ranger and Batman didn’t wear their masks at home! If someone’s has to wear a mask at home, it can’t be a happy one.

When I’m in church, although hesitant to admit it, I fear there are more masks there than anywhere else. These are the Christian masks. The world accepts masks as part of our culture everywhere except there in God’s house, where truth is to be the foundation.

The masks that are worn there are usually supernaturally stripped away to reveal by their actions the hypocrite. God’s house isn’t a masquerade party and the Host frowns upon mockery.

“The truth will set you free.” If we have to walk around  with a mask on to “act” the part, by implication of this verse, we are slaves.

Truth is freedom. Masks are slavery to the flesh.

When I was young I heard my dad say more than once, “Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.” My dad was a wise man. He knew and taught us what human nature looked like. Even though humans tend to take advantage of the weaker in our world, he never fell into the temptation to put on a mask. He was secure with himself and he knew who he was to God.

Some people would occasionally mistake his kindness for weakness, but not for long. It’s amazing how quickly weaker people wearing a “strong mask,” when confronted with the truth and power of “no mask” scatter like rats.

To write honestly takes removing my mask. I’ve noticed as my mask slowly comes down from my face, it reveals receding hair, moles, wrinkles, scars, my eyes, graying whiskers, and finally me.

Since I’ve done that, I see people around me as we speak, lowering their masks as well. The truth of who we are is much more masculine or beautiful than the ugly masks we were hiding behind.

Behind or without a mask we are all more alike than we are different.

For those reading from behind the mask of your computer screen, do me and everyone else a favor. Subscribe, comment, and pass it on to friends family and even the ones who might not know who’s behind your mask. It’s time to show them.

The mask we sometimes hide behind is choking the joy and life out of us..

Real life… Is sharing all of it, the good, bad, and the ugly.