Thursday, March 10, 2011

Everday is Halloween..the masks we wear

"..Low self-esteem usually means that I think too highly of myself. I'm too self-involved, I feel I deserve better than what I have. The reason I feel bad about myself is that I aspire to something more. I want just a few minutes of greatness. I am a peasant who wants to be a king. When you are in the grips of low self-esteem, it's painful, and it certainly doesn't feel like pride. But, I believe that this is the dark, quieter side of pride-thwarted pride.

Our hearts are certainly busy while we hide and spy.

Have you wondered why certain TV shows or magazines are so popular? Don't they offer us a brief opportunity to spy on others from behind our walls of shame? They let us see the disgrace of others, and it normalizes our own. Or they let us identify with our heroes, so we can briefly feel better about ourselves.

Is is as if the modern person is a peeping Tom. While the peeping Tom is looking at someone through a keyhole, he is also being watched by another voyeur, who is being watched by another, who is being watched by another....

..Everyday is Halloween. Putting on our masks is a regular part of our morning ritual, just like brushing our teeth and eating breakfast. The masquerade, however, is anything but festive. Underneath the masks are people who are terrified that there will be an unveiling. And, indeed, the masks and other coverings will one day be removed. There will be an eternal unveiling. But it is not so much the eyes of other people we ought to fear. After all, other people are no different from ourselves...If the gaze of man awakens fear in us, how much more so the gaze of God. If we feel exposed by people, we will feel devastated before God.

To even think such things is too overwhelming. Our hearts tremble at the thought, and we do everything we can to avoid it. One way to avoid God's eyes is to live as if fear of other people is our deepest problem-they are big, not God. This, of course, is not the case. Fear of people is often a more conscious version of being afraid of God. That is, we are more conscious of our fear of others than our fear of God. Granted, fear of others is a real phenomenon. We really are afraid of the thoughts, opinons, and actions of other people. But, under that we hide as best as we can the more desperate fear of God...When Christ returns, those who are naked will prefer being covered by the boulders of Jerusalem's mountains to being exposed before the holy gaze of God." (Ed Welch, When People Are Big, and God is small)

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