The computer acronym WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) applies to the heart of man too. The outward actions reflect the inward condition.
I started to say “what’s on the outside reflects what’s on the inside” but that’s often not true. Just because someone is beautiful, put together, looks perfect DOESN’T mean that they are the same way on the inside. The actions we do, though, speak of our heart’s condition. A kind man, no matter how he appears on the outside will not spew vile words at another. An evil person will not go out of their way to help another, unless it serves their purpose.
Jesus said that “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). This doesn’t mean that EVERY word that passes the lips is an accurate representation of what’s in the heart, but taken together, it is impossible to disguise what is really in your heart.
We ALL wear ‘masks’ from time to time. Many have a private personality and a public one. I heard a story once of a family on an average Sunday morning. Everyone is getting ready for church. The kids are complaining that they are tired. Mom is frustrated trying to get the little ones to cooperate while prodding the older kids along. Breakfast is served and pushing and shoving ensues over the best pancake. Dad gets into the shower just as everyone else is ready to leave. They all pile into the car with frowns and frustration on their faces. Seatbelt fights break out as well as the dreaded, “He’s touching me” rises from the back seat.
The car glides over the threshold to the church parking lot and the smiles are pasted on. Mom glares at anyone NOT wearing one. Everyone piles out and walks together, side by side, into the house of God. Other attendees comment on how lovely the family looks and mom smiles. In her heart she’s thinking, “If they only knew” but she will NEVER tell for she values the looks of admiration she receives.
I was that mom, minus the dad, on more Sundays than I want to admit. The most common comments I got were “You sure have your hands full” and “You are doing a GREAT job”. My response to the first one was, “I have my heart full too.” The second one made me think the same thing as our earlier mom.
Believe it or not, our masks don’t really fool people who are watching us. “You sure have your hands full” might have meant, I see you struggling to do it all alone. It could also have meant, “I’d offer to help if I thought you’d take it.” My mask probably wasn’t hiding the fact that I was struggling or that I was too determined to make it on my own.
People may not see into your deepest recesses but you can’t help but show what dominates your heart. It WILL find its way to the surface. Be it evil or good, godly or worldly it will show through. The more time someone spends with you the more your true self shines around the edges of ANY mask.
My most humbling example of this came from the mouth of my youngest son at the tender age of six. I was in a peak period with my eating disorder. I thought I was hiding it well from all those around me. As we approached the Easter season the kids started talking about what they wanted to do. My youngest looked at me and said, “Will you at least eat one Easter egg for me.” It broke my heart that HE saw my struggle and it affected him so much that he felt he had to voice his concern. I have no idea how deep his fear was running at that moment. My response was, “For you, I promise to try.”
I don’t know what the actual day delivered but that moment delivered a realization I will never forget. You can’t really hide from those who love you. Good or bad. They see your triumphs and your trials, no matter how hard you try to conceal them. And, yes, you sometimes do try and conceal triumph; especially if you believe it will hurt someone or put another in a bad light.
Father God, THANK YOU for KNOWING EVERY PART OF ME. There is nothing hidden from You. Thank You for helping me ‘see around the masks’ of those who intended me harm while holding out a hand of friendship. THANK YOU for the friends who saw what I didn’t too!
Thank You for prying off so many of the masks I used to wear. I don’t know who I thought I was fooling. I NEVER fooled those who really loved me. THANK YOU for EACH of them! And, THANK YOU that they reached past the barriers and pulled me to safety MANY TIMES OVER.
I pray I have an opportunity to do the same for someone else. To show them that they are worth reaching out to. That they are loved. That I see the good AND the grief behind the mask. Yes, there CAN be BOTH. And in loving them I’m embracing ALL of them; warts and all. Just as You embraced me and brought others to do the same. I would not be here today without their hands reaching in.