[Note from Jack Flacco: Erica Hedtke Barreto attends Hoboken Grace in New Jersey and is this week’s guest contributor for Looking to God.]
My husband and I had an interesting conversation the other night when he came home from his men’s dinner group. He explained how the group’s discussion centered on sharing God’s message with others. The group consensus was that each of them was hesitant to talk about who God is, not only in their workplace, but also with the people who were not within their church circle. They admitted their fear of people’s judgement and the labels they would inherit, for instance “Jesus freak”. While we were sitting on the couch together talking about this, I knew I had to have this same conversation with you.
I remember how a few years ago I listened to a sermon telling us that we should be the same person in every moment of our lives. I did not understand this at first, but once I started paying attention, I could see that I would say and do different things at church than I would when hanging out with friends. I would be one Erica in my dinner group and another Erica at work. I would talk about my love for God to certain people, but then to others I would stay quiet. I could feel this conflict in my heart, and it bothered me that I could not be the real Jesus-loving me in every situation, even if I knew what it was that was holding me back. That it was the fear of others judging me for my faith. I was afraid of how people would look at me, treat me, and maybe go so far as to exclude me from activities all because they found out that I am more spiritual than I let on.
There is another side to the coin, though.
God calls us to be His stewards here on Earth. He does not say, “Talk about Me when you feel comfortable.” He does not say, “Praise My name only on Sunday morning surrounded by other Christians.” No, God calls us to be stewards every single day we are on this Earth. Look at what it says in the book of Mark:
“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15)
That is, to the whole creation. Not just some, not just when no one is around or paying attention to you, not just when you have an extra ten minutes to spare, not just when you feel like it, and not just to those like you, but to the whole creation.
If that sounds difficult to do, imagine what it was like for Jesus. He put himself in all kinds of uncomfortable situations with lepers, prostitutes, the high priest and the council, regardless of people not accepting Him and regardless of people hating Him; the latter of which ultimately led to His death on the cross. This is the type of surrender that verse is talking about. This is the kind of disciple God was looking for when He set out to create each one of us.
Therefore, why are we throwing ourselves under a cape, hiding our true identities? Is it to make others feel comfortable? If so, let us take off the mask of the image we are projecting, and live the real life God called us to live.
5 thoughts on “Take Off the Mask”
My hesitancy is knowing that I can tell people that God is faithful and share stories of His goodness in my life one day, then by the end of the week I tell the same people that we had to install a new furnace at $3,000 and I’m scared because I don’t know how we’ll pay for it.
Stay faithful friend! The same God who blessed you with a home and a beautiful family is the same God who will give you trials. He wants to see how you work through those trials, especially by staying obedient and trusting in Him that He’ll get you through even the tough things. Our God is Great, regardless of an hiccups that occur in our lives. Give thanks to Him today for all that you have and pray that He’ll bless you in your finances as you bounce back from an unexpected purchase!
Thank you so much for taking the time to encourage me. And you DID encourage me!
Amen! I believe that sharing the faith is every believer’s job and one that we neglect far too often. I have dealt with all these feelings over the years and, to be honest, talking to people about God is still hard sometimes. I chalk it up to the flesh nature that wants to be liked and included in the world, whereas the Holy Spirit in us leads us to be different than the world and to not care who judges us or what they think. I pray that the church would become more faithful in sharing on an individual level, reaching the world one person at a time wherever they may be, as Jesus intended us to. His example was to be our pattern and I want that in my life especially.
Wow! Thanks Kevin for sharing that! It is so true though; we all struggle with this! The more we, as a society, are open and talk about this, the better we can conquer this issue head on!