Halloween, that night of costumes and candy, is now history. It was a good one in my neighborhood. The costumes were fun and imaginative and the candy plentiful until the end, when it became apparent that the trick or treaters outnumbered the supply of candy we had laid up for this purpose. However, by this time the trick or treaters’ bags full of candy were weighing them down, so that they didn’t seem to mind all that much as long as we admired their costumes, complimenting them profusely.
Now this morning as I look around my classroom, part of Halloween seems to be still present with us. We are all masked. Ironic, when schools used to do Halloween parties including costumes, the rule was “no masks allowed.” The students could wear a costume but not the accompanying mask. I’m not sure the reason for this rule but that’s how it was. Maybe teachers wanted to see students’ faces? But not anymore.
I find it ironic, that what used to be banned in the classroom, is now required in the classroom. But times have changed. One might think that covid masks don’t cover as much of the face as Halloween masks might – but there’s not a lot of difference, actually. Covid masks cover the chin and continue upwards, coming up just under the eyes. Students often have their hoods up over their heads. So all that is visible are the eyes of the students most of the time. No wonder I have trouble knowing who is who. We are all in disguise daily. (except the teachers aren’t wearing hoods) The students use this partial anonymity to their advantage, going to classes where they don’t belong and hoping no one will notice! For them, in one way, every day is Halloween now – albeit it is the costume without the candy and only a partial costume at that.
Still, what used to be unacceptable is now not only acceptable, but required. Masks were the mark of burglars and bank robbers and such, but now these individuals blend in with everyone else. It is getting harder to tell the good guys from the bad guys. (but then I wrote about that in “more wolves are wearing wool these days”) Jesus warned about this in Matthew 7:15-16 saying,
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.”
Jesus also cautions us, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” (Matthew 24:4-5)
What to do? John gave this advice in his letter to other believers,
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)
So I can know good from evil? I can know true people from false people? Can I really know who are the pretenders, posers, hypocrites, deceivers, imposters and such among us? I am gullible, but John says I can “test” and “see/know” who I can trust and who is not to be trusted. John explains,
“This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” (1 John 4:2-3)
The Deceiver is already in the world and hard at work! But I can take heart. John continues his letter saying,
” . . . the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.” (1 John 4:4-6)
Masks can’t hide for long a person’s true identity. Their “fruit” or their actions will eventually give them away as will who they acknowledge, whether Jesus or someone else. The masks will come off eventually, revealing true identities in Christ and setting us free. (truth has a way of doing that) consider what 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 says,
“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
looking forward to that time of “unveiled faces”, all reflecting the light and the love of Christ.
sincerely, Grace Day