Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Are you hiding behind a mask?

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’” (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV).

During Lent, many Christians choose to give up something. Chocolate, soft drinks, junk food, bread and red meat are just a few of the things given up during this time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter.

Recently, I learned a 13-year-old girl at our church has given up wearing make-up for Lent. Men, you may not be able to relate, but for women, especially a young teenager, this is a sacrifice. 

Addie’s mother shared the following on the second day of Lent: “Feeling very blessed! Last night at our Ash Wednesday service, the girls were talking about what they were giving up for Lent. Addie said she was giving up make-up. ‘Wow,’ I said, ‘that is a big one.’ I then realized today they are taking wrestling pictures. (Note: Addie is a wrestling cheerleader) I told her it would be okay to wear make-up for the pictures. She looked at me and said, ‘Mom, if it is in God’s plan that I not have make-up on, then that is what I will do.’” 

Our true identity is found in a relationship with our Heavenly Father.

When I read this post on Facebook, I was not surprised. I know this family and their dedication to living a Godly life. However, I was amazed and touched by this 13-year-old girl’s willingness to give up wearing make-up, even for a yearbook photo, to honor her commitment to God. 
The next day, as I was getting ready for an appointment, I was watching a medical show. I was stunned when the doctors shared the story of a woman in her forties who had sought their help for her addiction to make-up. The woman admitted she had lost jobs and friendships because it takes her three to four hours to apply her make-up each morning. 

After what the doctor’s called an intervention, the woman learned from a make-up specialist to apply her make-up in 20 minutes or less. My initial reaction to this women’s confession was one of disbelief and pride. Then, I realized something. I was judging this woman instead of having compassion. I don’t know her heart but God does.

People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. God does not look at the outward appearance or even the mask people wear. He looks at what matters.

Each of us, if we think about it, often hides behind a mask. In a society hung up on appearances, the media portrays an image many think they need to attain to fit a certain mold, including extreme diets to fit into a size two jeans. In the process, however, we lose sight of our true identity.

Our true identity is found in a relationship with our Heavenly Father. He doesn’t see our mask. He sees our heart.

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