Who Is That Masked Man? – The Lone Ranger decided to go through life as a masked man and in nearly every episode someone asked, ‘WHO IS THAT MASKED MAN?” He’s the Lone Ranger! Was there anything the Lone Ranger could do with the mask that he could not do without the mask? The answer is yes – Hide his true identity. How many masks do we wear?
HEALED WITHOUT SCARS
By Pastor Delbert Young
Who Is That Masked Man?
Who Is That Masked Man?
Scriptures: Genesis 1:26-28, Genesis 3:7-9, Matthew 7:5, Luke 4:18, Daniel 3:24-25
How many remember the Lone Ranger television series of the 50’s and 60’s? In the clip I showed, Tonto asked the Lone Ranger if he would take off the mask. The Lone Ranger replied, “I’m going to continue to wear the mask and keep my identity a secret.” “For how long,” Tonto asked. The Lone Ranger said, “We have a lot of trails to follow.” The Lone Ranger decided to go through life as a masked man and in nearly every episode someone asked, “WHO IS THAT MASKED MAN.” He’s the Lone Ranger! Ask you a question. Was there anything the Lone Ranger could do with the mask that he could not do without the mask? The answer is yes – HIDE HIS TRUE IDENTITY.
We began our series last week and saw we seldom realize how alive and well scars in our hearts from wounds of the fiery furnaces of our pasts are in our lives. If not truly healed, the scars affect everything about our lives today (Pro 4:23) altering and distorting our true identity. We build walls to protect us from being wounded again, which, are actually prisons keeping people and God out. We put up DO NOT ENTER signs in areas of our lives to keep from being wounded again and because of shame. However, we learned that Jesus was not only wounded and bruised to provide a way for forgiveness of our sins, He was also punished and given stripes on his back to give us peace and healing (Isa 53:5).
Back to the Lone Ranger. The Lone Ranger was once a Texas Ranger. Several Rangers were ambushed. All died except the Lone Ranger, who was badly wounded, but nursed back to health by Tonto. The wound forced the Lone Ranger to wear the mask to hide his identity until he could get revenge. However, even after revenge, he continued to wear the mask (except for short periods when he would further disguise as someone else). His true-identity was lost. He rode all his trails through life as a masked man – The “a-lone” Ranger, separated from people and separated from God.
All of us experienced wounded hearts. Some of those wounds were forced on us by others, or by the devil. Some of those wounds we brought on ourselves. Because we were unable to fix our emotional pains, they forced us to wear masks through life to cope with the pain, to wait for revenge (un-forgiveness), and to cope with unresolved issues. The more and deeper the wounds and scars, the more masks we put on. Life, designed to be exciting and full of meaning, looses meaning, looses peace, and looses joy.
That is not the existence God planned for us. We were created to be whole. God created people to be a reflected image of God.
Genesis 1:26-28 Then God said, “Let us make people in our image, to be like ourselves. They will beMASTERS OVER ALL LIFE – the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the livestock, wild animals, and small animals.” So God created PEOPLE IN HIS OWN IMAGE; GOD PATTERNED THEM AFTER HIMSELF; male and female he created them. God blessed them and told them, “Multiply and fill the earth and subdue it…”
God created you to be the reflected image of him in your world, but you can’t reflect God’s image wearing your mask. Instead, you reflect the mask you are forced to wear by others, the devil, and your own self.
You are the crown of creation in YOUR world if you are really you. God intended YOUR life to be fruitful, not the masked person’s life, not the Lone Ranger. It is the real you whom God created to subdue. It is the real you whom God created to be a master. This is at minimal a part of why we never experience all God created us to experience.
The serpent finds a way to get into our lives – our gardens. His desire is to ambush us and destroy us by causing our separation from God. He can successfully accomplish this through unhealed wounds of failure, failed relationships, disappointments, etc. We find a mask to wear. WHAT WE NEVER SEEM TO REALIZE IS, THE MASK SEPARATES US FROM GOD.
We see this truth in the story of Adam and Eve. The Lord created Adam to be God’s reflection in his world. Adam could have, do, and eat anything in the garden made for him except Adam could not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The serpent ambushed Adam. You remember how Eve blamed the serpent and Adam blamed Eve. It was a very negative experience. Both Adam and Eve immediately put on masks/coverings to hide their shame, hurt, and vulnerability.
Genesis 3:7-9 At that moment, their eyes were opened, and they suddenly FELT SHAME at their nakedness. So they strung fig leaves together around their hips TO COVER THEMSELVES. Toward evening they heard the LORD God walking about in the garden, so they HID THEMSELVES among the trees. The LORD God called to Adam, “Where are you?”
Do you think this is what the Lord asks us? Notice, they were not hiding from the serpent. They hid from God. It’s interesting how we cover up, or mask up, when life goes wrong with negative experiences. Our eyes are opened and we see our own vulnerability. We are ashamed. Just as Adam and Eve, we create some cover or mask to cover our shame and vulnerability. We go through life veiled and actually hiding from God. This not only prevents our healing. It can also stop our accomplishing what we are created to do.
We wear masks of self-confidence, joy, peace, appearance of having it all together, spirituality, etc. We hide behind our fig leaves from others and ourselves. Eventually, the person in the mirror obscures the person God created. WHO IS THAT MASKED MAN? We wear the masks so well that even those closest to us can’t see our scars and shame. Eventually, we take on the identity of the mask and become the Lone Ranger. WE LOST THE IDENTITY OF THE PERSON GOD CREATED.
We all wear masks of one kind or another, at one time or another. It’s the way we respond to sin, failure, shame and wounds. It’s human nature. For example, I have watched people go through the trauma of divorce and inevitably, put on the mask. They can’t help it. Some describe divorce as a type of death. It is the death of a once close relationship. It is the death of a family unit. It is potentially fatal to emotions. It has deadly effects that linger and some people never recover from the trauma. It’s one of, if not the most wounding of life’s experiences. Tonto will show up and nurse you back to life, but if not truly healed, you will ride the remainder of your trails behind the mask.
The wounding of divorce forces people to put on masks. Sometimes it’s a mask of relational indiscretion where they become promiscuous attempting to convince others and themselves they are desirable. Another mask is complete relational shutdown and becoming lost in work or school or some activity.
There is nothing wrong with relationships, work, school, or activities, but if the reason one does them is to hide behind fig leaves, then they are also hiding from God. The problem is they will never receive HEALING WITHOUT SCARS. They will continue to experience hate and bitterness. The x-spouse will continue to control their life forever. It’s like tied to that “x” with a rope. It’s not that the masked person does not have a right to be angry. It’s that the anger has turned to sin (Eph 4:26) and is actually being wasted. It does not affect the other person one way or another. If the person is going to be angry, they need to be angry with their own self for allowing the “x” to continue controlling their life. It’s that way in any situation where forgiveness is withheld. It will cause you to change your identity.
Again, we all have worn masks at one time or another. We hide our vulnerability, shame, and hurt behind our fig leaves. We forge an identity that is acceptable to others and to our own selves. WE NEVER REALIZE HOW DRASTICALLY WE ALTER THE PERSON GOD CREATED. We manufacture a new personality, which we hope will be exactly what we want to portray. Sadly and unknowingly, we are hiding from God, never able to be the masters of life God intended us to be.
We are all too aware of our own unflattering character traits. This becomes major because we tie our worth to how others see and perceive us. We all have our unflattering physical traits. We wear clothes that hide or disguise our big tummies or hips or scars. We put on makeup to hide a blemish. We avoid accenting a flaw. For example, I have a scar on my neck from a literal run in with a barbed-wire fence, which happened when I was about 10 years old. Now, at my age, it’s one of the first things to begin wrinkling. I hate looking at it, so I try to wear shirts, especially on Sunday and in videos, that disguise it.
We go through life wanting people to not only accept, but love our “unacceptable” parts. When they don’t, the masks go on tighter than before. Our identities are even more fractured. It’s tough to be real, but the real person is the person God created, not the masked Lone Ranger.
Sadly, religious people often wear the tightest and most masks. That’s right. Church goers are notorious for this. Jesus called them “hypocrites” The word hypocrite actually means an actor under an assumed character (stage player). Jesus said (not specifically talking to Pharisees)…
Matthew 7:5 You hypocrite, FIRST TAKE THE PLANK OUT OF YOUR OWN EYE, and then you will see clearly to REMOVE THE SPECK from your brother’s eye.
Jesus was speaking about people giving advice to others when they themselves wore more masks than those to whom they projected. Jesus didn’t say to not attempt to help others. However, take off your mask first so you can help others to take off their masks. Deal with your stuff and then you can help others. We don’t think of ourselves as being hypocrites, but if we all wear masks/fig leaves then we all must be to some extent.
Have you ever caught yourself wearing a mask? I have. It’s a horrible realization. I didn’t intentionally put it on. Just as Adam and Eve, it seemed the right thing to do. I was vulnerable, ashamed, angry wanting to blame someone. “Maybe I can hide behind my mask and no one will see my shame.” I never realized I was actually hiding from God.
This is one reason people need and love God so much. He knows all about our masks. He knows all about our “unacceptable” parts. He knows every unflattering character trait we have. He knows every blemish. He loves us anyway. In fact, he loves us so much that he sent Jesus to be punished and beaten with stripes so we could be healed. We can be who God created us to be. Jesus said…
Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to PREACH the gospel to the poor; HE HATH SENT ME TO HEAL THE BROKENHEARTED, to PREACH DELIVERANCE TO THE CAPTIVES, and recovering of sight to the blind, to SET AT LIBERTY THEM THAT ARE BRUISED,
Jesus CAME TO broken, bound, bruised, and hurting people to bring healing and freedom. Is that what that is saying? That’s not only his message. That’s his purpose. That’s why he came. Jesus can do what you, or nothing else, or no one else can do. So, how does that work out in real time?
We talked last time about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace? They came out of that negative experience without even the smell of smoke on them, unharmed outwardly or inwardly. The reason is the Son of God CAME INTO that experience with them.
Daniel 3:24-25 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have NO HURT; and the form of THE FOURTH IS LIKE THE SON OF GOD.
If you will take off the mask and allow the Son of God into the hottest part of your pain, he will deliver you from its bondage with NO HURT. You will come out and go on being who God created you to be without even the smell of smoke (or masks) on you inwardly or without. The thing will just become a great story to tell others about how God delivered you from your fiery furnace.
Do you remember when you came to the Lord? Remember when you “opened” your heart and said something like, “I’m going to do this. I’m going to give this Jesus and church stuff a shot.” Remember? What you did was say, “I’m going to take off my mask and allow Jesus to come into my life, my heart, my secret place. I’m going to be vulnerable to him. I’m dropping the fig leaves in his presence. I’m lifting the mask.” You, at some point and somewhere, confessed your sins and asked for forgiveness. You felt clean and maybe cried. Somehow, you felt toxic free because you were. That’s what we are after again.
To be HEALED WITHOUT SCARS, you must do the same thing. The tragic scenes of your life have replayed again and again in your heart long enough. The reality of their having happened cannot be erased, but the wounds, pain, hate, bitterness, and scars can be erased. Realize the mask is a form of denial as you await revenge. Take off the mask, confess the wound, and scar IN THE PRIVACY OF YOUR OWN THOUGHTS. Now, ask forgiveness. What? Maybe you have not yet forgiven the person. Maybe you have, but maybe you contributed to your wound with hate or bitterness. Maybe you said some things (if only to yourself) that festered the wound. Maybe you allowed your mind to torment you with anger. Eve, don’t say, “It was the devil’s fault.” Adam, don’t say, “It was his or her fault.” That’s hiding behind your fig leaves and mask.
How many would say today, “I truly want to be who God created, not a masked person. I truly want to be a reflected image of God, not a reflected image of this mask.” If that’s you, raise your hand and let’s pray.
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