Hiding Behind a Costume
So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. "Consult a spirit for me," he said, "and bring up for me the one I name." 1 Samuel 28:8 (NIV)
Halloween is just around the corner, and you may find that it’s not just the little kids who dress up as something they are not. And you may find that this occurs all throughout the year—not just on Halloween. I feel the need to insert a disclaimer here. The intention of this devotion is not to discuss whether Halloween is an evil holiday or analyze the Biblical stance on participation in Halloween activities. Instead, this is a reminder that Halloween may not be the only time you pretend you are someone or something you are not.
Since the fall of man in Genesis 3 up until today, humans have been hiding behind the fear of being known. We believe we risk rejection when we allow others to authentically know us and struggle with thoughts like, If I let my personal walls down and allow someone to know the real me, I will be rejected. This fear is not limited to children, teenagers, or people who have been abused. And please notice I didn’t label this is a false fear because, the truth is, others really may reject us. But if we are going to be rejected, is there anything we can do to stop someone from doing so? Perhaps one of the hardest questions to consider is, Aren’t there worse things than being rejected? And never underestimate what one would do to find the acceptance of others.
The story of Saul in 1 Samuel 28 reminds us that even a king can fear rejection and go against his own convictions to be accepted. God appointed Saul as king, but the fear of losing what he was never able to achieve on his own made him suspicious of those around him—especially David. Saul became very jealous of David after hearing people applaud David’s ability to win battles. Saul was unable to celebrate David’s accomplishments because he feared the people would reject him in favor of David, and that ultimately, he would lose his kingdom. It was this fear that caused Saul to forget that God appointed him king, not the people. Saul’s fear led him to do the very thing he had called evil; he disguised himself and went to a spiritual medium to find comfort even though he had banned all practices of witchcraft.
We cannot find comfort when we pretend to be who we are not. Nor can we find peace with ourselves knowing we have violated everything we once believed to be wrong. Hiding behind a false pretense and pretending to be someone we are not will force us to continue to hide. The fear of rejection can be so strong that unless we are honest with ourselves, we will begin to believe that very masquerade to be truth. When we exchange truth for a lie, we begin to live as if the lie is true and may find the very thing we were once afraid of losing is actually already lost.
I don’t want my grandson to dress up like Superman and jump out of his bedroom window this Halloween. And I certainly didn’t want my husband to pretend he was one thing to discover after the wedding he was nothing like what he presented himself to be. Trying to be something we are not is very dangerous! Certainly, no one enjoys rejection, but do we gain true acceptance when we pretend to be something we are not? Don’t hear me say you need to walk around declaring, This is the way I am, so deal with it! This principle is not an excuse to be rude. There are times when we should be cautious in allowing people into our certain details of our lives because they haven’t earned the right for us to be transparent with them. However, we must always be honest with ourselves by celebrating and enjoying the person God has created us to be. As you discover the “real you,” you will then be able to let your walls down and allow special people into your life. Not only will they receive the gift of knowing and enjoying the “real you,” but you will also be better able to accept them just as they are.
This Halloween, as you go from house to house dressed up as something you are not, remind yourself that if you are not careful, the masquerade might last beyond Halloween. Enjoy the candy, but remember the best treat is when you aren’t pretending to be someone or something you are not. God loves you and accepts you just as you are. And if a Holy God loves you and accepts you just as you are, why should you change to gain the approval of others? That’s called a trick, not a treat!
Further Reading 1 Samuel 28, Romans 5:8, Jeremiah 17:9