In my previous blog, I referred to the movie the Mask of Zorro (1998) staring Anthony Hopkins, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Early on, Anthony Hopkins plays Zorro. Upon ousting a corrupt government, the villain locate his secret hideout, accidently kills his wife, and kidnaps their baby. After years of being imprisoned, he later raises up Antonio Banderas to take his place as he seeks to reclaim his daughter’s love. The one thing the two have in common is they both were as mask to hide their identity. Scripture makes several references to those who wear masks:
- 1 Thessalonians 2:5 NIV – 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed–God is our witness.
- 2 Corinthians 3:13 NIV – 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away.
- Matthew 7:5 ESV – 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
The hypocrite refers to a play actor, someone pretending to be someone else. Blue Letter Bible quotes Strong’s Concordance:
- ὑποκριτής hypokritḗs, hoop-ok-ree-tace’; from G5271; an actor under an assumed character (stage-player), i.e. (figuratively) a dissembler (“hypocrite”:—hypocrite.
The reason I bring this up today is that I came across a relevant article:
In the article, the author’s son states:
“I want to keep wearing a mask after this is over,” he told me. “I can just go and do my thing, and I don’t have to interact with people. It’s liberating.”
The author though gives justification for the mask as the following:
“But there are also the folks who’ve spent their lives stared at by others because of physical differences in their faces, and who now are finding relief from these first judgments.”
If you were to ask anyone if they want to be a hypocrite in life, most would say no. But if you ask how many people have been unfairly judged by others, most would say yes.
The unspoken theology is that masks allow us to protection from being judged. First for our unintended consequences of being ourselves, and secondly intentionally being ourselves that carry consequences.
We like think that we are protecting ourselves. But in reality, as her son states, we are avoiding interacting with people. Fairly or unfairly, we must interact with others who may not like who we are. Look at the most recent headlines regarding Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. They have removed themselves from their respective families for what they perceive as being unfairly judged and trapped in a system that will not allow them to be themselves. But instead of being free despite what they say, they have only further solidified themselves as part of the royal family by taking on the identity of the royals that were.
So, I ask the question. Do we really want to be ourselves? Or do we want to be a better person tomorrow than what we are today? You can’t have both. Unfortunately to experience personal growth one must learn to interact with others, and as painful as that sounds, learn to love them even if our love is not returned.
Its funny, though we are to have our alone time with God, just as Jesus did, no where are we taught that to experience personal growth, we are to shut ourselves off from others. We cannot learn to love unless there is someone who is hard to love. Jesus said it this way:
- Luke 6:32-33 ESV – 32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
Even in the Zorro movie, evil still found him even though he wore a mask and had a secret hideout. In the end, the mask did not help him, but only prolonged the inevitable. It has been said that the number one command found throughout scripture is “fear not.” We need to remember that:
- 1 John 4:18 ESV – 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
Masks may seem freeing, but they are in the end based in Fear. Why nor rather be free by being perfected in love? Not an easy task, but a worthwhile one. God already knows all our weaknesses and failures, there is nothing that catches him by surprise. Yes, we may be unfairly judged by others, but in the end, we will be truly free. The Mask of Zorro provides no protection in the end.
So as always, love much my friends . . .