This year almost every tradition is being impacted by the restrictions of the pandemic. This includes Halloween. Here in California, we are discouraged from Trick or Treat, church or school carnivals, or even neighborhood gatherings, all in the name of preventing the spread of disease.
While some of us appreciate the authorities trying to keep us well, many people resent what they consider draconian measures meant more for exercising the power of government. What many see as good, others perceive as evil.
When re-reading C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters, the Christian classic written from the perspective of one of Satan’s demons, I came across this line, “All mortals tend to turn into the thing they are pretending to be.”
While that sounds profound, I think that is true only some of the time.
We’ve all seen people (politicians come to mind here) pretending to be honest and upright in order to impress an audience, but who are eventually revealed to be dishonest and self-serving at heart.
I think it is a person’s motives that determine the effect pretense has on character.
Christians are sometimes advised to act “as if” we feel love or forgiveness toward someone when we have difficulty calling up the genuine emotions, because the action can be the precursor of the feelings.
If you pretend to be better than you are simply to fool and manipulate others for your own gain, it is like slipping into a Halloween costume; you remain unchanged beneath your mask.
Walking a higher road in order to help others and in the hope of eventually becoming what you are emulating can really change you.
Rather than a false face to hide behind, we should be putting on the character of Christ, allowing it to mold us into His image.
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.Romans 8:29
I want to be authentic in all my relationships, yet always striving to overlay my flawed character with generous, loving, and courageous actions for the benefit of others and the glory of God.