How Do You Appear To Others?

31 Oct

“Villainy wears many masks, none so dangerous as the mask of virtue.”
~ Ichabod Crane, Sleepy Hollow

Tonight is the night when many children will don masks and go trick-or-treating, looking for all sorts of goodies.  It is an important ritual to them.  Young people dress in their favorite personas:  super-heroes, villains, ghosts, goblins, and all sorts of other creatures.  Some dress as saints as well to commemorate the fact that they are going around on the vigil of All Saints Day.

Dressing up and presenting as someone else is a big part of many people’s lives.  When they do so, they speak differently and act differently, trying to emulate the person they represent.  We know that they are not real super-heroes.  We know that they are not ghosts or ghouls.  They are people in costumes.

Sadly, there are times that people are ghouls under the “costume” of normalcy.  How often have people spoken about serials killers who “looked like everyone else”?  Some people are very efficient in portraying themselves as normal when they are far from it.  They do so in order to hurt others.

“Villainy wears many masks, none so dangerous as the mask of virtue.”  There have been people who have portrayed themselves as being virtuous only to lead others astray.  There have been entire memberships of cults who have died because they followed their cult leader to death.  Just remember Jim Jones in Guyana or the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas.  They all followed someone who wore the mask of virtue and paid the price for it.

Some Christians wear the mask of virtue yet are far from the people Jesus would want them to be.  Jesus spoke about that type of person when He warned about leading others astray.  “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Mt 18:6)

We have a serious responsibility to lead people to the Lord and not astray.  We do that by the manner in which we live our lives.  Let us make sure that our exterior matches a virtuous interior.  It can only do so if we spend the requisite amount of time in prayer and reflection allowing the Lord to form us rather than the world.

FAITH ACTION Make sure that people see a faithful believer in Christ when they encounter you this day.