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Youth Illustrations: The Mask I Wear

This Halloween mask related study encourages youth to take a look at the masks we wear everyday, not just on Halloween and to expose what is underneath to God so that he can transform us so that we reveal his glory!

Read the Poem The mask I wear Author unknown

Dont be fooled by me. Dont be fooled by the face I wear for I wear a mask. I wear a thousand masks masks that Im afraid to take off and none of them are me. Pretending is an art thats second nature with me But dont be fooled, dont be fooled. I give you the impression that Im secure That all is sunny and unruffled with me within as well as without, that confidence is my name and coolness my game, that the waters calm and Im in command, and that I need no one. But dont believe me. Please! My surface may be smooth but my surface is my mask, My ever-varying and ever-concealing mask. Beneath lies no smugness, no complacence. Beneath dwells the real me in confusion, in fear, in aloneness. But I hide this. I dont want anybody to know it. I panic at the thought of my weaknesses and fear exposing them. Thats why I frantically create my masks to hide behind. Theyre nonchalant, sophisticated facades to help me pretend, To shield me from the glance that knows. But such a glance is precisely my salvation, my only salvation, and I know it.

That is, if its followed by acceptance, and if its followed by love. Its the only thing that can liberate me from myself from my own self-built prison walls. I dislike hiding, honestly I dislike the superficial game Im playing, the superficial phony game. Id really like to be genuine and me. But I need your help, your hand to hold

Even though my masks would tell you otherwise That glance from you is the only thing that assures me of what I cant assure myself, that Im really worth something. But I dont tell you this. I dont dare. Im afraid to. Im afraid youll think less of me, that youll laugh and your laugh would kill me. Im afraid that deep-down Im nothing, that Im just no good and you will see this and reject me. So I play my game, my desperate, pretending game With a facade of assurance without And a trembling child within. So begins the parade of masks, The glittering but empty parade of masks, and my life becomes a front. I idly chatter to you in suave tones of surface talk. I tell you everything thats nothing and nothing of whats everything, of whats crying within me. So when Im going through my routine do not be fooled by what Im saying Please listen carefully and try to hear what Im not saying Hear what Id like to say but what I cannot say.

It will not be easy for you, long felt inadequacies make my defenses strong. The nearer you approach me the blinder I may strike back. Despite what books say of men, I am irrational; I fight against the very thing that I cry out for. you wonder who I am you shouldnt for I am everyman and everywoman who wears a mask. Dont be fooled by me. At least not by the face I wear. Take it to the Next Level At Halloween, children often wear obvious masks. But the truth is people of all ages are wearing masks every day, not just on Halloween. What are some of the masks that adults often wear? What are some of the masks that youth wear? Have you ever pretended to hide your true feelings? Why did you hide your real feelings? How is hiding your feelings like wearing a mask? Have you ever pretended to be something that you werent? To go along with the crowd? To gain acceptance from other youth? Because you were afraid someone might not like the true you? Because you feared rejection if they saw the real you? What are some other reasons youth might wear masks?

Taking off the Masks Wearing a mask brings certain comforts, but it also may hinder our personal growth. As long as we wear the mask we dont have to deal with the underlying problem. But when we are truly able to confront the truth about ourselves we will find true freedom. We can find healing. We can find an answer to the weaknesses that plague us.

Scripture 2 Corinthians 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lords glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. Some key truths from this verse and the Life of Paul: Paul did not need to hear kind words from his friends. His life and ministry was already reflecting Gods glory. Paul revealed his weaknesses. And in doing so, he also revealed the reality and the power of Jesus. Paul was weak, but the Spirit of God was constantly at work in him. Jesus is not revealed in a person by their human perfection but rather by God transforming us into His image. Pauls life was not one of see how good I am. On the contrary, his life was see what God is doing in a sinner (Paul referred to himself as the chief of sinners). We are all sinners with all the ugliness of sin, bent and twisted out of shape, far from being the persons we want to be, or that God intends us to be (Romans 3:23). Our transformation comes from the Holy Spirit. God is in the process of working His transformation in us. We are being transformed into His likeness with everincreasing glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).

The truth is, when we take of the masks and are honest with ourselves and God he takes our fears, our weaknesses, our sinful ugliness and transforms us to look like Him. When we fail to do so we put on a mask and we no longer reflect the love, grace and joy of Christ. One of the names that Jesus called the pharisees was that of a hypocrite, or a whitewashed tombstone. The word comes from the Greek word hypokrites and was a technical term for a stage actor who usually wore a mask and acted a part.
Matthew 23:27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead mens bones and all uncleanness.

Making It Personal What are some of the masks you wear? Why? How would things change if you were to take off this mask and let God deal with the true fears and issues that lie underneath? What is a real way that you can take off this mask? Is there someone you can talk in honesty that can help keep you accountable? Say a prayer to God to help you to deal with the underlying issue so that you can more fully reveal his likeness and glory in your life!

Variation Provide Halloween masks or carnival masks for the entire group of youth. If possible, you can give youth some heavy paper (paper plates work well) and rubber bands and ask them to create a mask before the lesson. Later at the Making it personal stage of the lesson, have youth add a symbol or some words to indicate the mask that they want to remove so that God can work on that area of their life.

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