Brennan Manning’s book “Abba’s Child” talks in chapter two about the impostor in us– the protective masks we wear to serve as our defense mechanism against pain, heartache, shame.
We pretend to be someone we’re not to cover up some weaknesses. To project a good image of our self to other people. We need this shield to ward off any judgement or attack against our person.
In addition we get a sense of pride and confidence from our valuable possessions.. branded clothings, expensive car, big house and a beautiful wife.
In a desperate attempt to make ourselves acceptable before God and others. Brennan says we hide our true selves and present an impostor to the world. We cower and hide until we attain a mask of perfection and look good again.
Sadly, it is then that we wonder why we lack intimate relationships and a passionate faith— here are some of my favorite masks :
1) The Mask of Superiority.
Zacchaeus was a man who hid behind a mask of superiority and power (Lk 19:1-10). He was a corrupt, wealthy tax collector, distrusted and despised by his fellow citizens because of his collaboration with the Romans.
He lived comfortably by collecting more than what was due. When Jesus came to town he dropped everything, climbed up a tree and made a fool of himself for the salvation of his soul.
Like the Pharisees, some of us display our spirituality by announcing how much we give & flipping a Bible underlined colorfully. We pray like hell, clapping, speaking in tongues, just to be heard and seen by all the people.
Superiority is looking down on other people, treating them as if you are more important and valuable than them. People attach their values on their possessions, wealth whereas we need to value people because God created them in His own image and He gave His life for people.
2) The Mask of a Clown .
Remember Jim Carrey’s movie- “The Mask” where he was transformed from a shy, reserved person to a funny, smiley, strong & powerful being? This is a mask of a happy, energetic, funny guy – yet hurting inside, hiding his weaknesses. Laughing outside but crying inside.
3) The Mask of the Invisible –
Okay, this reminds me of Kevin Bacon’s movie – “The Hollow Man”. Here, we pretend to be invisible , hiding or keeping distance from people, or maybe trying to be a hermit wanting isolation and privacy, trying to live independently and loves individuality to the extreme.
He just want to watch and observe from a distance but not to participate… he just come quickly to a party and eat, does not interact or talk much then leave.
But when he got the chance, he loves control… domination, to do things without opposition, to lead, to talk and talk monologue.
Being anti-social because of our feeling of inadequacy, inferiority and our lack of education, wealth or personality. Our sense of worth comes from Jesus who appeared in this world looking for you and me.
Psalms 139 speaks of God knowing our innermost being, we can’t hide anything from Him. We should acknowledge the impostor(s), and remove the masks we are wearing in His presence. He loves and accepts us as we are far more than we can imagine, and longs to bring us into deeper, more joyful, passionate fellowship with Himself