Oct 26

Of Masks and Halloween

(c) halloweenexpress.com

(c) halloweenexpress.com

People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”

–1 Samuel 16:7

One night every year in America, people encourage each other to put on masks and costumes and go around looking for candy by knocking on doors! Do you know what this night is called? Right… Halloween!

These costumes and masks are a lot of fun. Maybe a little mischief gets thrown in… something gets “egged” or a house is adorned with toilet paper. But, for the most part, these “tricks” are accepted as part of the tradition associated with October 31st every year.

Now, take those same behaviors and those same masks and costumes and try wearing them around town a month later, you will receive a VERY different reaction. It is clear that there is a time and a place for masks and mischief. If you don’t believe me, try making your next banking transaction in your Halloween mask!

Besides Halloween, there are many reasons people wear masks:

  • So they can “get away with” doing something they wouldn’t normally do
  • To hide who they really are
  • To be a part of the crowd… if everyone else is wearing a mask
  • For protection… from the cold, from “germs,” and other things

Okay… now that your imagination is engaged, it is time to switch gears a bit. Think about your heart rather than your face! How do we put “masks” on our hearts? I am convinced that we wear masks on our hearts for the same reasons we wear masks on our faces!

What can start out as something we wear for protection, or to blend in with others, or to hide who we really are… well, those masks can become so comfortable that we never want to take them off. Part of the work we do in chapel every week is to address the truths of God and God’s Word and how they can give our children the courage to step out from behind the masks and into who God says they are: wonderful, amazing, and capable children of God—with the right to be loved and to love in appropriate and affirming ways.

But, the work is not easy… through the work in the cottages, in school, in therapy sessions, and in chapel, the hurts and fears that made the masks necessary must be dealt with. The reason that masks are so attractive–not only to the children here, but to all of us– is that they WORK… they really do! Well, at least with people.

This is because most people only look at the stuff that is on the outside. We can “fool” them and make them think we are something we are not. We can put on a mask that makes us seem brave, angry, confident, bristly, happy, sad… whatever is needed at the moment. But, behind that mask, we may be really hurting, scared, or otherwise vulnerable.

Fortunately, what works with people doesn’t work with God. God sees past the mask and sees our hearts. He knows our fear, our hurt, our sadness, our shame…



Not the mask, and not the “you” you wish or want to be… God loves you just the way your are, on the inside, and wants to help you take the mask off so others can see what he sees and loves and made you to be.

May you have a fun and safe Halloween, but more importantly, may you have the courage to examine your own heart and see the masks you are wearing. Then, ask God for the courage to take those masks off so people can truly see the person God has created you to be.

Prayer: God, I recognize the masks I wear and how they keep me from being honest with myself, with others… with you. Forgive me for the times when I have settled for relationships that stay on the surface, neither challenging myself to take down my masks, or giving others permission to do the same. Help me to trust and may I receive the courage I need to take my defenses down and love more honestly and openly, just as you love me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.



NOTE: This lesson was used in chapel services this week at Intermountain. The kids had AMAZING insight into how the masks they have used to protect themselves have now become the very things they are having to fight through to get to the real emotional and relational work they need to do in order to have healthy connection with their families. Thank you for supporting the work we are doing with children and their families! –Chris.