My husband was hanging out one evening watching TV. And because I love my husband, I curled up next to him. He was watching the reality show America’s Got Talent – where America votes in ‘the ultimate talent show.’
That is exactly what it feels like.
Just like that.
When I’m going along in life, and I think I’m surrounded by fellow teammates. Others on the journey with me simply all doing our best. Others to cheer each other on, refine each other, sharpen each other, so that – different from the show – we can all win the prize.
But then one of our fellow teammates takes a seat in the judge’s chair and starts judging me.
And I am stunned.
God is our judge. So what are they doing sitting in that chair – His chair?
When it happens, I almost don’t know what to do. Or how to react. I’m hurt. And baffled. And stunned. And grieved at what is happening to what I thought was a valuable relationship. What is going on?
This paradigm so clearly quickened in me the reality of the sudden shock in a relationship. And then the Lord, in His graciousness, brought a new, helpful paradigm to mind.
Instead of sitting in the judge’s chair, we are fellow ‘acts’ in the show. If we become aware of something the judge likes, well, out of love and care and compassion for all to ‘get the prize,’ we share our concern or learning or teaching.
It looks something like this….
Let’s take, just as an example, someone using the Lord’s name in vain. Instead of judging them:
You are sinful and disrespectful to use the Lord’s name in vain.
We can, out of love and care and compassion for all to ‘get the prize,’ share our concern or learning or teaching regarding what the Judge likes:
You: Hey – I may not be hearing you correctly, but sometimes it sounds like you say, ‘Oh my God,’ when I think you may actually mean to say ‘oh my gosh.’
Friend: Oh, I think I do.
You: It’s my understanding that using the Lord’s name in vain is using it when we could say something else. I know it’s so commonly used nowadays that sometimes we pick up habits we don’t intend to. But I think that’s actually something the Lord cares a bit about.
So instead of being the judge, we are helping our fellow teammates in Christ understand what the Judge is looking for. We’re fellow teammates helping other fellow teammates along the path. Or at best – at times – we’re like a stage coach. Sharing what we know so that others may apply it if they choose.
At best, we are a coach. But we never sit in the judge’s chair. More on that next time.
Question: What model, tip, verse, or paradigm helps you spur another along? (without climbing into the judge’s chair, of course!)
P.S. While we’ve focused here on God as our Judge, He is of course not solely a judge to be pleased. God is all-merciful, all-righteous, all-loving, and delights in our good for His glory.
Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord.
Psalm 36: 5-6