Last night, I went to see the newly-released movie, "Beyond The Mask." It is the story of William Reynolds, an employee of the East India Company in 1776 who has a bloody past to hide. Lured by the love of a young woman, he begins to mask his true self for a different one in hopes of gaining her acceptance. But, instead, Miss Charlotte Holloway's sincerity towards God and mask-free living launch him on a journey to discovering who he really is and who God intends for him to become. It is a tale of tragedy and redemption that drives home the message that one cannot gain true love or acceptance by their own effort. That one can never hope to live a transparent and truthful life until they have taken off their mask.
Masks. I know them well…because I used to call them my friends. My masks hid the broken heart of a girl who was afraid to let others see who she really was - an insecure young lady who was angry at God, disillusioned with the faith, and alone. There was much she felt she had to hide. Darkness drove deep into her soul. Every day, she would don the mask and head out into the big, wide world, feeling as though she had to portray a certain image so that others would accept her. Like William Reynolds. But every night, when she crawled into bed for the night, the mask came off…and the real Katherine came out. Long nights of staring at the bedroom ceiling, asking questions she felt she could voice to no one except herself. Tears soaked into the sheets as she reflected on the pain she was feeling. So many people didn't know. But I did…and, in time, I came to realize that God did, too.
In the Fall of 2011, the mask finally came off for good. God showed me my true self and allowed me the courage and grace to face the darkness in my soul, to accept my past for what it was. And, as the Light began to shine, the false identity was replaced by one that was given to me from the heart of God Himself. I no longer felt the need to live two lives - to portray something to others that was different from the truth. Because now, the inward and the outward were in tune with one another. Love flowed both ways. Life became an endless journey of hope and a discovery of the limitless grace of God. I had nothing to hide anymore. Good or bad, I was at peace with who I was and whichever side others saw, I had nothing to be ashamed of…only to rely on God in greater ways and to attempt to live as transparent a life as possible.
In the making of "Beyond The Mask," the producers of the movie sought to communicate this essential truth to their viewers: everyone has the potential of wearing a mask, of hiding behind something that isn't our true self so that others will think more of us. Of trying to make ourselves out to be better than what we really are. But, as they will explain in the following video, nobody is "good enough" to earn the acceptance with God and others that they seek. Nobody can re-create their identity to match the standard of perfection that they so desire. Only when we have come to a place of realizing our own brokenness and inability to be who we are created to be apart from God will we begin to experience true life-transformation and mask-free living.
As Psalm 90:8 says, "You have put our evil doings before you, our secret sins in the light of your face." God can see through our mask better than any human being on earth. He is the only One who truly knows us, even if we do not as yet know Him. He has planned our existence since the dawning of time and has known all about us before we even took our first breath. No mask is so deceptive that He cannot read our mind and heart anyway…and no life is too hidden in the depths of darkness and despair that He cannot rescue it and remove the mask.
My mask has been gone for sometime now. But stories like "Beyond The Mask" remind me of what life used to be like when it was my companion…and the indescribable joy I feel today as I live my life in the "light of [His] face."
*The main showing of this film will take place in theaters across the nation on June 5, 2015. For more information, visit: www.beyondthemaskmovie.com.