There’s a young man just settled into married life. He caters to her needs and loves her as well as he thinks anyone can. He loves Jesus and grew up in a home where church was attended regularly. He’s a model citizen, intelligent and successful by every measuring stick designed to weight achievement. He wakes up one morning charged with DUI manslaughter. He’s guilty. A year and a half later he’s in prison.
A fine looking middle-aged man leans back and exhales satisfaction. He’s a professional on all counts. Well respected and advanced in his field. He’s on top of the world. He does his best to show his wife how much he loves her and, by his assessment, is doing a fantastic job. He wakes up one morning to the sound of Police officers banging on his door. A short time later he’s charged with selling prescription narcotics. He’s guilty. He stands stunned as the jail cell door slams home.
A beautiful young woman, popular her entire life. She’s the prom queen and the envy of girls (later women) around her. She gets along with everyone, fleeing from conflict with a toss of her hair. She’s a keeper of the peace so to speak. Her parents love Jesus and taught her the same faith. She pushed bible studies, got involved in youth group and talked about being a missionary. She’s just married and watches her kids grow through vision bordered with pride. She sits by herself in a dark room wiping tears from her face that seem to never end. She tries to figure out how she became entangled in the affair. She can’t. The black covers her like a thick blanket. She can’t breathe.
The specific people may be strangers to you but in reality they’re probably not. You are either one of these people or know one of them. I actually know the four people described personally. I’ve had a part in their stories.
The last two are very personal. They are our stories, my wife’s and mine. The masks we wear are thin, poorly made and destined for destruction. They’re meant to cover up the reality of our hearts and it just can’t be done for long. If our hearts are sick it will show given enough time, which there almost always is.
As I sit here an interesting thought comes to mind. When it comes to the masks we wear there is a whole lot of energy spent figuring out how we can keep them on but seldom, if ever, do we spend time considering how to take them off. The thought is usually scary enough to justify banishing it to the deepest recesses of ourselves.
But what if, what if we took them off? What if we decided to take them off ourselves before they’re inevitably ripped off in front of the world? What would happen to us? What would happen to our relationships?
The people described above all have happy endings. In every story, though they were exposed not by their own choosing, they chose to let go of the mask and put on the image of Christ. In doing so they experienced unmeasured healing and restoration. The hand of our redemptive and all loving Father is certainly displayed in their lives.
But that’s the key isn’t it? Isn’t it all about taking off the mask and putting on the image of Christ. Isn’t Jesus the first one we need to allow to see us as we are? It can’t be about our relationships primarily. It can’t be about our kids, our spouses, our jobs, our reputation. None of those have the power to change our hearts.
Our hearts are the real issue but surgery can’t take place until we start being real. Eventually we will all find ourselves on the operating table in the cardiac wing. The question is will you have your own surgeon put you back together the same way you were before or invite a new surgeon in to craft you into something new.
And, in case you were wondering, that new surgeon loves you more than you could possibly imagine. There’s not a case He won’t operate on. In fact He makes house calls looking for the sick, broken and dying hearts to save. And He will save it and you won’t be the same. You’ll be different, better and have access to a life you only dreamed of—A life that looks like Jesus.
Jesse and Kara Birkey
Jesse and Kara Birkey are committed lovers of Jesus who seek to show others the extraordinary life of Jesus is available for everyone. They have authored two books, been featured in films and seek to serve the Lord in whatever ways they can. Follow their blog here.
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Life Resurrected, Extraordinary Miracles through Ordinary People has been endorsed by Sid Roth and Mark Virkler and is a collection of inspiring stories making it clear that the extraordinary life of Jesus is available to all who love Him. It’s also the testimony of Jesse’s life, the road he travelled bringing him into the arms of Jesus. Get it on Amazon here. View the trailer here.
Marriage What’s the Point? One couple finds meaning in a crazy mess is the story of their marriage—The tragedy and the restoration. They bear their hearts in an attempt to get others to bear theirs and finally receive the freedom they’ve longed for. Get it on Amazon here.