>CNN reported on a new show in Afghanistan called, “The Mask”. The basic idea behind the show is to give Afghan women a safe medium by which to talk about the unseen and unspoken abuses that they have suffered through. I found the idea behind the show intriguing except for one glaring absence. If, as Miroslav Volf puts it, the road to forgiveness and healing lies in two steps – naming the evil and then pronouncing release from the wrongdoing (in essence absorbing the cost of the hurt or wrongdoing), how does this really help people? By simply naming the wrong, can healing and restoration really happen? Couldn’t such painful hurt, once relived, actually cause more harm?
I think we see the true power and benefits of the cross here. The cross gives us confidence to name the evil because someone has absorbed the cost. We can call wrongdoing what it is, but we can truly forgive the wrongdoer because Jesus absorbed the cost in a way that no man has ever before. This is the beauty of forgveness, the Christian way.
Yet, so many of us hide behind masks don’t we? We’d rather not face the shame or the hurt of the wrongs we have done or the wrongs that have been done to us. The masks may be safe. They may even be helpful in the short-term, but in order to find true healing, we need to come out from behind the masks. This is a scary proposition, I’m sure, and the only way we will find the boldness to do so is to know that our actions (and even the ones done to us) don’t define us. They don’t establish our identity. Rather, we have a savior who went to the cross to bear the cost of such actions. The Bible says that when we are made new, we identify with him. We are united with him. We can take off the masks because we are loved as we truly are.