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It’s time to take off the mask

Are you still going to wear a mask?

That’s not a question regarding COVID protocol or the relaxing of some of the regulations regarding mask wearing.

The CDC guidelines state that fully vaccinated individuals do not have to wear masks outdoors and in most indoor settings, except on public transit, in health care facilities, or other designated settings. Those who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated are strongly encouraged to wear masks in all settings. That’s a good sign for what we all have been hoping, praying, and waiting for. The emotional impact of wearing a mask is deep and affects individuals in many ways. Physically, I think we can all agree it was not a pleasant thing to do. It was suffocating. If you wear glasses, or have a hearing aid, it was always a challenge.

All senses were impaired. I was thankful to take off that mask and just breathe.

Many still might wear a mask for health reasons. But regardless of whether you wear a medical mask or are “free faced,” today our masks may look different—it covers our emotions, sins, weaknesses, and fear of judgment — but it is just as suffocating as our medical mask was.

Still, we may fear taking off that mask because we might feel inadequate, exposed, vulnerable, maybe even flawed. And the truth is, we are. We are all those things. But taking off that mask and letting others see who we really are gives us room to breathe, room for God to move, to use us in the same way He created us—in His image. It also gives people room to judge me and all my flaws, but I am willing to take that risk to stand before you as who I really am rather than hiding. Pride. Insecurity. Offense. Perfection. Strength. These are all masks we wear, and there are so many more. They don’t allow us to see the whole truth about ourselves, God, or anyone else.

Masks keep us hidden, vision-impaired, and longing to breathe freely. If you find yourself in this very place and you don’t know how to get out, I have one word for you — Jesus.

Jesus came to be our living example. Jesus never wore a single mask. He was exposed and vulnerable yet never flawed — and yes, Jesus was judged. Judgments will come, but they do not define us, just as they did not define our Savior.

“Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (Colossians 3:9-10 NIV)

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13 NIV)

Let’s be safe, considerate, and healthy. Let’s really be free and take off our masks today.

REV. JOHN MOXLEY can be reached at Jmoxleydillwyn@gmail.com.