Although there is controversy about their efficacy, most people these days are trying to go along with whatever local advice they are getting and masks are becoming a common fashion accessory.
At one time, people wore masks for one of two reasons: either to hide their identity when breaking the law, or, in the case of firefighters and medical workers, to protect themselves from hazardous environments. Today, we are encouraged to wear them to protect others from whatever germs we may be breathing out.
Even though the majority of people wearing masks have good motives, it still makes me uncomfortable not to be able to see a person’s face. A mask may be a barrier to germs, but it is an even greater barrier to openness and trust in relationships.
When this pandemic season is past, will many of us still feel the need to wear a mask? Not a surgical mask or even a homemade one, but that invisible mask we hide behind to protect ourselves emotionally.
Removing the mask takes courage. What if I express my faith to someone and they laugh at me, or worse? What if I stand up for what I believe and I am belittled or attacked? What if I share an unpopular opinion on social media? Will I be “canceled” or be the target of abuse?
These are all real possibilities in our current culture. But what if we all decide that standing up for our beliefs and having the courage of our convictions in the face of these challenges is worth it to strip off the confining masks we hide behind?
Would our culture become a less hazardous environment? And might we encourage others to become bold in their faith and deeply held beliefs?
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”Joshua 1:9 (ESV)