Beneath the Costume

By Joel Hess


A couple of months ago I was counseling a fellow on the death of his mother. He explained that for the last year or two of her life she had severe dementia, her body was just skin and bones, and she just lay in the nursing home bed motionless. He proudly proclaimed, “That wasn’t my mother!” Therefore, he confessed, he just didn’t visit her for the past half year because he wanted to remember her as she was. Sadly, many people think like this man.

I suppose it is the modus operandi of Western civilization – to avoid suffering.

If anyone tells you that he doesn’t visit his mom, husband, brother, or friend because he wants to remember them as they were – please kick him in the head.

First of all, the benefit of visiting someone amidst her suffering is not to make you feel good! The goal of the visit is to benefit the sufferer!!!

Well I didn’t slap him. I did, however, wave my finger at him declaring, that suffering broken woman is the exact same woman who put diapers on your smelly ass and played hide and go seek with you on those cool October evenings after school.


More than being someone’s mom, she is a child of God! No matter what she looks like! No matter what Halloween costume she is currently wearing.

John says to people who don’t look like children of God, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”

John says “see” because he truly wants the reader to look at members of his church! Behold! They are fallen people. They don’t look pretty all the time. Some are struggling with a sin. Others are struggling with life, health, family, all of them a guilty people. LOOK at them! Do not look away like the world! The Father loves THEM; that ugly fool, that skin and bones. They are children of God NOT because they look like it but because God CALLS them that! Don’t be fooled by how they look now!

Satan loves to cause us to question our identity. In the desert he even tried to get Jesus to doubt his, saying, “If you really are the Son of God you would…” Sons of God don’t suffer, go without, mourn. What kind of God would allow his Son to…?

So that old foe does the same to us. His spell was cast on that poor fool who boldly avoided his mother. He was blind. John says, SEE!


Beloved, you are God’s child NOW. Christ has clothed you! When God looks at you He SEES a white robed holy one. He sees His Son!

Beneath your temporary costume of sin and death is a resurrected son and daughter! A day is coming when Halloween will be over. Jesus, who never went anywhere but has been here all along, will be unveiled, revealed! He shall appear! And you will too! And so will your brother and sister in Christ!

So don’t be scared by the costumes, the suffering, the skin and bones, the sin. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.