We are living in times when it has become common place for many people to wear masks!  In the fields of psychology and counseling we use to talk about “masks” that people wear in terms of having something to hide or just plain not being real!  Are you the real deal?  Is what we see really what we get?  Are you wearing a mask to not be seen for who you really are?  I’m certainly not suggesting that you are or judging you.  But, I’m asking the question, are you or have you worn a mask to hide something about your character or life that you find embarrassing or uncomfortable about your life?  Doesn’t everyone wear a mask at one time or another in their life?

We live in a world full of lies, and deceit comes from many sources. There are lying spirits who lead us astray (1 Timothy 4:1); there are “evildoers and impostors” looking for deceive us (2 Timothy 3:13); and, perhaps most insidious, we have ourselves to deal with. Self-deception is common in our fallen world.

Our own hearts are deceitful—so much so that we easily fool ourselves (Jeremiah 17:9). Isaiah 44:20 speaks of an idolater who is misled by his own “deluded heart.” The prophet Obadiah identifies arrogance as one of the roots of self-deception: “The pride of our heart has deceived us on occasion” (Obadiah 1:3). Human pride always blinds us to truth. It promises honor, but it delivers disgrace: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).

James 1:22 warns us against deceiving ourselves: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Scripture was not given merely to produce theologians; it was given “so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17).   James goes on to contrast self-deceived, “worthless” religion with “pure and faultless” religion, giving a practical example of each. One type of self-deception is to believe that our words do not matter: “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless” (James 1:26)

Here are some “masks” that people wear sometimes.

1. The Cool Guy

By all outward appearances, this person seems to have mastered whatever it takes to stay calm in all situations. Unrattled by conflict or chaos, this person possesses the composure of a Tibetan monk. However, beneath the surface, one of two things happens. His bottled-up emotions either result in a nervous breakdown, or he periodically presses the release valve when no one is around, snapping at folks subordinate to him. He lambasts the waiter for forgetting his coffee or fires off a nasty email to his assistant for a small error.

2. The Humorist

Humor is a brilliant defense mechanism but sarcasm, especially, tends to be rooted in pain and is not without consequences.

3. The Overachiever

Some people unconsciously pursue perfectionism as a defense against annihilation. If everything is done right, then their world can’t fall apart.  But, it often does.

4. The Martyr

Most of us know a martyr, a person who boasts that he or she has single-handedly saved the world with their selfless actions.

5. The Bully

While bullies appear to be confident in their forceful delivery of opinions and order, they are innately insecure. They want so badly to be respected that they will break the rules of appropriate conduct to get that esteem. Self-doubt drives their hostile behavior; an obsessive need to feel right that comes at the expense of others’ rights and feelings.

6. The Control Freak

The control freak uses order and power to achieve a sense of security. By making sure everything is in its proper place, he relieves his fear of the unknown, of ambiguity, of uncertainty.

7. The Self-Basher

Suffering from a chronic case of unworthiness and insecurity, the self-basher projects a negative view of himself/herself to others.

8. The People-Pleaser

The people-pleaser will go to desperate lengths to win the approval of others because their sense of identity is largely based on the assessment of others.


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