Funny how a friend of mine read this post I borrowed and put on Facebook. She told how her story echoed these thoughts and that she is often "shunned" in Wal-mart. I've been there. I suppose because I no longer believe exactly like those who do the shunning. Perhaps because I left their church long ago? . I will have to get used to the Wal-mart shun. Sad. Life is so short.
From A Scandalous Freedom by Steve Brown:
When the requirement for acceptance in any particular group is to think certain thoughts, to act in certain ways, and to fit in certain molds — and when we don’t think or act that way or fit the mold — we tend to fake it. We put on a mask that says, “I’m just like you. Now, will you please love me and accept me?” I can think of hardly any thing that will kill your joy and freedom more than wearing a mask geared to get others to accept you because you are acting like them.
Allow me to let you in on a secret: Nobody fits the mold, and most of us wear masks to cause others to think we do…. When we give the impression that we have it all together and live “one hundred miles from any known sin,” when we preach and teach about sin with the implication that we are talking about others, when we seem to be anything other than what we are, sinners saved by grace — we do a great disservice to one another, and we become bound to the masks instead of free in Christ.
Christ can give you the freedom to stop pretending. Of course, superficial Christians — those who have been wearing their masks for so long that they seem sewed on — will probably reject you. Those who put you on a pedestal and worship there will feel so shocked they might, for a period, not want to have anything to do with you. Religious leaders into control will probably kick you out of their groups, because honesty and control hardly ever sleep well together. Those kinds of people will probably pray for you and give you a wide berth.
If that happens, celebrate. You have now determined who is and who isn’t playing games with your mind and your heart. And you will feel surprised how much easier it is to come clean about who you really are. It takes a lot of emotional gasoline to keep the mask straight… and now you won’t have to do it any more.