Pilate asked the question, “What is truth?”.
We all like to be liked. To achieve this many people create a narrative and external image that is appealing to their target audience. This in time becomes their own “reality” no matter how much falsehood, or masquerading is involved. Some people are so caught up in the the fabrications of their own story, that they cannot recognise the truth in others. This is sad, as even those who realise that their own facade is phony, come to believe everyone else equally duplicitous. There becomes a lack of belief in integrity.
The Christian witness counters this. Everyone is flawed (you, me, everyone). Honest Christian witness is not that we are perfect, but that we are forgiven for our shortcomings. How much more powerful is that to tell the world – “I am flawed, just like you, and it doesn’t matter in eternity, because there is One who will accept us regardless.” We don’t need to put on masks, as the One who sees through all masks, still is willing to accept us as we are. What is better than liking being liked? Loving being loved!
This mask wearing does however have a pervasive power in today’s world. In a world of “self” the image of that self becomes more important than truth itself. Some mask-wearers even take pride in their ability to see beyond the masks of others. But, they themselves, play their self appointed roles, in order to sell their lies to the widest possible audience.
And why do people do this? Jesus notes in John 8: 44, the origin:
“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father, he was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Such sons of the devil (or sons of this world) thrive on deceit. Luke records Jesus’ parable of the corrupt steward in 16: 1-8,
“There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’ “Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’ “So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measure of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.”
While Jesus’ story was illustrative of a different point, it nonetheless shows the attitude difference of “the sons of this world” and “the sons of light.” Truth, and integrity are outpourings of light. Jesus said in John 14: 6, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” God with us, the Emmanuel was the embodiment of truth. And if we are in Him, we should be manifesting Truth.
In fact Jesus promised that better than image, we can have freedom in the truth. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32).”
Why live in a world of masks, when real freedom, and real acceptance is found in the truth?
Addendum: My wife and I have been assailed of late by lies. Some have been perpetrated by those who cannot see beyond their own masks. Others have been deliberate attempts to deceive and to benefit financially at our expense. Very few have been direct lies about us, as they have mostly been lies to us. Some hurt has additionally been heaped on by belittling our own honesty. No, not assertions we are dishonest, but attacks on our faith for being “Too Honest” and our “stupidity” for not “seeking advantage” by lying. Whatever the motivations of those who have assailed us however, devastation and pain are still the consequence. I pray that I can be a walker in the truth, and that I do not cause the same distress in others.