The mask you put on each day is killing you inside. The mask you put on each day is keeping others from having an encounter with the compassion of Jesus.
Since starting to go to church around 6 years ago I have been confronted with one of the saddest realities within the body of Christ: People in the Church don’t share their burdens. We’re called to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2) but often times we are not given the opportunity.
In an effort to make sure everyone knows that your life is just fine you smile, all the while, the burdens you are carrying are killing you inside. Growing up, I knew this was normal for people to do. The closest people to me would do this.
I guess when I became a part of the Church I thought we would get past this toxic fakeness that so plagues our culture – where doing well, being busy, being stress free is a badge of honor… Please stop fooling yourself! You’re killing yourself. You are doing harm to your heart. Why else do you think we are called to bear one another’s burdens? Because we need help in bearing them!
Holding in every little negative emotion is like being sad, discouraged, and depressed while trying to take a nice selfie on Instagram so that you can keep up with appearances. You try a handful of times to wipe the tears away and smile so that everyone will know that you are doing great. You finally get that one good picture that is selfie worthy, you post it on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and then wait to see how many likes you get.
With each like your mood gets a little better. With each positive comment, your eyes brighten up a little more.
Unfortunately this is all temporary, it’s all actually harmful. It’s harmful because your burdens remain and the likes will not continue to lift you up. At the end of the day, you are still attempting to carry things that you’re not able to.
So, what do you do? You return to social media for people’s ‘likes’ and ‘comments.’
The cycle continues…
If social media isn’t your source for temporary encouragement then just think about what your source is. We all have one. If you think you don’t, then you’re either (a) deceiving yourself, or (b) you’re Jesus incarnate. And since we can rule out (b), there’s one option left.
When you bear your own burdens, your soul aches, and you miss out on the beauty of true Jesus-centered community.
This is the message that many churches are selling when new people visit on a Sunday morning:
Hi, we’re happy and so excited for this day. We are all so happy and would love to say ‘good morning’ to you. My life is perfect because I follow Jesus. If you would just follow Jesus, your life would be like mine – perfect. I don’t have any problems. Do you have problems? Well that is because you don’t follow Jesus. You see, when you follow Him, you are given a mask to wear. It’s called your ‘church face’ and it is designed to bury your burdens to depths of your soul so that it is nearly impossible for them to surface. It’s great!
Christian, please stop putting your ‘church face’ on! It is creating a culture of plastic people who don’t feel, who don’t have emotions, and who are dying inside. Sure, be happy on Sunday. Smile at people. Greet them with excitement and joy. But don’t forget that EVERYONE – including you – is hurting! They are going through things that you would never expect. Be aware and ready to be biblical and bear their burdens.
When you refuse to be aware of this, you are telling them that following Jesus is about putting on a face instead of being in a community of people who will bear their burdens, who will care for them, who will encourage them.
This world needs to encounter the real, authentic, compassionate Jesus who so deeply desires to have all the weary and heavy-burdened people come to Him with all of their baggage. If you act as if you don’t have any baggage of your own, you’re telling them that Jesus is only for the perfect people.
When you share with someone your struggles, your burdens, and your story, you are giving them a glimpse of what Jesus is truly like. He takes anyone and everyone no matter the struggles, no matter the burdens, and no matter the story. He went to the cross for ALL!
People are being robbed of that realization when they are confronted with a bunch of Christians wearing their ‘church faces.’
A Better Way
How is the ‘church face’ working out for you so far? Has it helped or has it hindered? Honestly…
I’ve discovered that the ‘church face’ doesn’t work for me. I hope you discover the same thing.
The Church is supposed to be an authentic community where people can be loved – burdens, struggles, and all. The Church should recall the ‘church face’ because it has many imperfections and it is dangerous to be out. It’s harming kids, teens, young adults, middle aged folks, and seasoned veterans.
The ‘church face’ is ugly even though you think its pretty and attractive. It’s actually repulsive and it needs to be done away with.
So instead of putting on your ‘church face’ why don’t you resolve to do something different – be real! When someone genuinely asks you how you are doing, answer them truthfully.
Don’t count on Sunday morning filling your need for community. Instead, join a small group within your church or something similar. It is within the context of a small group that you will find other people to walk with you through the hard times, to celebrate with you during the good times, and to walk with you during all times.
The recall has been issued. Return that ridiculous ‘church face’ today or continue to be harmed by it and continue to do harm with it.
The choice is yours…
To see a full list of the call to one another (be in authentic community), see the infographic below: