Who was that masked man?
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone...." -Genesis 2:18
Chris Kotter came back to give us a reminder and a challenge this week. If I were to summarize, it would go something like this:
I was made for relationship.
Relationship isn't real until I remove my mask.
I can't remove my mask until I am confident I am in a safe place.
I spent much of my life in a religious tradition where it was not OK to not be OK. Oh, you could have problems, struggles, family issues, secret sins, etc. You just shouldn't burden the brethren with such things. To do so was generally seen as inappropriate, or worse, a sign of moral turpitude, making you the subject of judgment, perhaps gossip, and rendering you unworthy of service in the Kingdom. If you were brave enough to confess sin, there was sure to be at least one sweet sister who would voice what others were thinking: "Well, you've embarrassed us all. We'll forgive you this time, but it better not happen again!" (And yes, I witnessed this actually happen.)
Predictably, the result was that most of us worked very hard to maintain a facade of control and well-being. "Why yes, I'm fine! Thanks for asking. Wife is fine, kids are fine. See them all lined up on the pew with their hair combed and teeth brushed? Little Johnny made the team, and Susie has straight A's this semester. Job is great, just got that promotion. We're all doing good."
Until it wasn't good. Unfortunately, by the time a problem came to light, the situation was practically unsalvageable. The masks we wore to protect ourselves, in many cases became our undoing.
God rescued me when He brought me into a Christian fellowship that allows me to acknowledge that I'm a mess. A safe place where everybody knows that we're all a mess. Starting from that common ground, we can, together, place our lives on the altar before a God who is committed to making us less messy, holy, in fact. Convoy has been an important component of my spiritual rehabilitation. As Chris described, my foxhole is a safe place to practice taking off my masks. Unmasked, I find that other relationships with the people God has entrusted me to convoy are richer, deeper, and less mysterious.
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. -Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 18:20
What masks have you worn that God has delivered you from? Are there any you're still holding onto? What are you doing in your foxhole to ensure that it's a safe place for men to remove their masks?
As we head into Thanksgiving week, I'm thankful for Convoy and I'm thankful for you. Be safe and enjoy the holiday!