The unseen masks men put on

Lunminthang Haokip *

1. A SUCKER IS BORN EVERY MINUTE: The famous saying, 'There's a sucker born every minute" is credited to the mid-19th Century American showman called P.T Barnum. Men love to put on a show. Standup comedians who make their audience laugh till their bellies ache, to eke out a living for themselves, may as well be hiding personal sorrows in a facade of make-belief fun.

The invisible masks put on by subtle players in society have made gullible suckers ofthe targeted victims. In my youth, in the 1970s, when foreign jean pants and jackets were scarce but much in demand. I was made poorer by a few thousands of hard-earned rupees by a con-guy who cheated to deliver the coveted goods by VPP.

Even today, social media are used handy platforms to make gullible folks suckers, every passing minute, by trapping them with the bait oftheir desires in the form of` deceitful ads.' In Hindi, conning someone is put catchily, "Socho kuch, bolo kuch, kayo kuch aurho jai kuch!" Be extra-alerted orbe looted! The feeling of being cheated diminishes self-worth.

2. WOLVES IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING: Our Lord Jesus foresaw the shape of things to come in the spiritual arena too. He warned all believers and followers of truth and righteous-ness in Matthew 5: 17, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." Wolves, grey or white, will prey on what they can.

"A wolf in a sheep's clothing" means a person who puts on a mask of nicety, generosity and humility but in actuality, is out to harm and defraud the innocent. Jesus warned that false prophets will come in His name. They may sweet-talk their way into people's trust. They may even perform wonders. But, they As so with an ulterior motive. 'They will appear good from far, but will be far from good!'

Such frauds are on the hunt for what Barnum said, 'the sucker born every minute.' Matt. 24:24 confirms, "For them shall arise false Cbrists, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." Any preaching that avoids getting under the skin of "the fellowship of Christ's suffering (Phil. 3:10)." is false. No crown without the cross.

3. THEOLOGY IS MEANT TO ADVANCE GOD'S KINGDOM: Theology is study about God. When a person who is good in secular academics, equipped with a real Scriptural calling, takes up a Bible course, the modules give his knowledge a shot in the arm. Higher learning about God enhances his persona and the degree earned advances God's kingdom.

But a man with a worldly bent of mind has the potential to reduce 'Theology' to `Meology!' Me first. Some people go to a seminary just to learn English so that they may land up in America or Korea. The call of the dollar makes them forget the stellar call to serve the Lord. No effort is spared to get sponsorship in dollars or pounds, even by hook or by crook.

With such a mask making the dubious target task appear noble, how are they going to mean business with God? Jesus never sought help from the Roman Govt. Neither did Paul. "My grace is sufficient for you (2 Cor 12:9). Before his Damascus road blinding light-strike, Paul's Theology was used to persecute believers. The Lord revealed the truth, "I am Jesus whom thou persecute.: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks (Acts 9:5)."

4. CORONA UNMASKED THE 'MUKHOTA' OF MANY NATIONS: The Corona crises across the globe, apart from sending hundreds of thousands of precious lives to an early grave, are also unmasking the 'Mulchota (Mask)' of many nations. Some, like a bikini, revealed the obvious while concealing the vital. In due course of time the 'clever cover' will be uncovered. Truth cannot be hidden for long.

God spelt out His displeasure over cover-up clearly, "He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within My house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in My sight (Psalm 101:7)." Even in our midst, eel-like 'slippery players,' who thrived for a while with the mask of 'make-belief diplomacy' covering ill-motive, did not last long. In this issue, the `spiritually-circumcised' lot have no much or less deceit to hide.

Here's a zone of 'operation' where mortified believers dare to call a spade a spade, come what may, and not a bloody shovel. Even during the Covid-lockdown, relative liberty was enjoyed by the heaven-connected children of God.

Grace wasn't locked down. Righteous crackdown on law-breakers and adherence to norms set, make residents free from pandemic dangers. Safety is there where the truth is hailed. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32)."

5. WHAT ABOUT THE HEAVENLY CCTV? We think we are smart and wise in covering up our sins. But heavenly CCTV is taking close-up shots of all things we do or fail to do. The God who seest us (Genesis 16:13) is going to make a premier-show of the unedited version of all men's recorded life story footage in the day of judgment.

"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we give account (Hebrews 4:13)." Isn't it frightening? But that will be the plight of sinners who had not repented when the grace of the Lord was let loose. Those who repented and confessed their sins pre-tasted the joy of heaven. Having come out clean from the burden of sin, King David proclaimed, "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered."

We are in the zone of consideration for forgiveness only when we bring out our sins. The Lord will cover the sins of those who uncover themselves through confession. No pleading for forgiveness will be valid in the seat of judgment. The time to repent and confess is now.

6. THE CRAVING TO BE SEEN: My Univ colleague, Late Pu Hellcholun Lhungdim was a n unusual social observer. Keeping track of those who delight in being seen in a social do, he said, "There are three types of people who come to make their presence underlined in a formal function: they are those who come to see others; those who come to be seen by others; and the third category of people who attend an event are folks who attend to see those who come to see one another.

In our bedazzled state to keep an eye on others, we tend to forget that our Creator is always keng an eye on what we do and intend to do. Proverbs 15:3 says, "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good." It is terrifying to learn from the Scriptures that we cannot get away unscathed from the evil we have seen, done and kept thinking in our minds.

Hebrews 4:13 is a frightening reminder, "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight." It calls for immediate self- discipline `to see no evil, to hear no evil, and to do no evil.' Being human, it's impossible to attain those virtues.

Unconfessed sin, at judgment time, will render us as nervous as a thief at a 'dog-show.' But God's grace is there to bail us out, even if we have sinned with our eyes. The magic of repentance, in a penitent frame of mind, will do the trick.

7. APPEARANCES ARE DECECEPTIVE: we are living in the age of ads. The media, backed by the latest tech, make things appear to be much better than what they actually are. Many otherwise level-headed guys have messed up their lives because they got carried away by the glitz and show of the world.

The adversary of humanity had always used `the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:16).' hoodwink man of woman-born from living life perfectly in tune with the will of His Creator. The pitfall-ridden and deceit-laden honeyed-bait of the devil in Genesis 3:6 caused myriad mortals to stumble and be left crestfallen.

"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took off the fruit, and did eat." She never regained the 'divine connect' she was created with. When you get ensnared and damned in this broadway to sin and hell, the devil will not be on your side to sympathise with you. Youronly option will be to jump from the frying pan to the fire.

Psyche yourself not to get 'fried' in the pan' in the first place. It's for nothing that Rom. 6:23 warns, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our LORD."

* Lunminthang Haokip wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is an IAS (Retd)
This article was webcasted on December 04 2022 .

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