That awkward moment when you look in the mirror and see Judge Judy looking back at you, but she's getting a paycheck and you aren't. Deliver me! Its safe to say, this is part two to "So You're a People Pleaser..." Maybe we should call this the Revelation Series.
The realization of my judgmental self has been like a slow burning candle. If I look back over the course of my life, I can easily acknowledge where the candle was lit. But before we get there, let's look at some years ago...
It was my senior year of high school. During lunch I sat at the round table with my usual lunch crew of about 7-8 friends. We casually ate lunch and talked. For some reason, I was giving my opinon on fruity things:
"I prefer fruit in its most natural state. I don't like fruit flavored ice cream, cereal, or pastries...I'm just saying."
Someone immdiately agreed with me: "You right!" Bless her heart.
Someone else said this: "Miya, you always say something, and then justify it by saying, 'i'm just saying!'"
I have to admit that the first part of her statement is fuzzy in my memory. But after the word "something" input the word judgy, opinionated, or shady...Take your pick!
WHAT. A. READ.
There's a reason why I distinctly remember this instance. I was the nice girl. In high school, I was literally voted nicest person, four years in a row! FOUR YEARS. So to have someone call me out so hard was a bit shocking. I was not angry nor hurt. I was even slightly appreciative to have someone finally see me beyond the "nicest person" supperlative.
NOW. Let's go back! Way back! Back in to time...
Where was this judgy fire lit in me?
It's simple. There is someone who I grew up around, who shall remain namesless, who is the headliner of The Original Judges of Judg-ery (if you will) Tour. I have watched and listened to this person give their unsolicited opinion for years. I have even laughed with them, unknowingly encouraging judgy behavior. All while being groomed to be a Judge Judy myself. I say all of this with love.. Lordt!
Although it pains me to do so, I have to give an example. A works cited if you will, in MLA format.
The person in question has very strong hair opinions. And now that I think about it, this person is bald, so that's quite ironic...
Nevertheless, they feel very strongly about hair. Particularly, women's hair. Color treated hair, fake hair, short hair. Hair that they don't have. *side eye*
But let's focus on color treated hair. This person can spot an unatural hair color fifty feet away. down the aisle, or in the next car over. "Look at her hair!? My GOD!" Color treated hair= bad, ghetto. Natural hair color= good, sensible.
As a result of their strong hair opinions, I was afraid to make any dramatic changes to my own hair. But thankfully, when I did die my hair a rebellious red, this person seemed to just be fine with it. Similarly, when I began to wear wigs they also approved of my hair, only commenting on how often I changed styles.
The main point is, I didn't see the error in my ways until I realized that this was something that I learned from a close family member, not a natural part of who I was.
More recently, I have also noticed friends consistently using phrases like: "I don't want to judge" or "I'm in no place to judge" to the point that I began to question myself: "Are my opinons judgy???" "Am I judgy!??"
Again, I didn't clearly see myself because being judgy was the norm and aside from my high school classmate, no one had ever called me out.
The difficult part of making this relization is shame. I spend a lot of time in a day replaying memories of judgements past.....Not others judgements of me. My judgements of others. I feel so sorry about all the stupid, tactless comments I have made about others in the past.
But thank God for Romans 8:1
"There is therfore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
So...I have begun the process of reversing the Judge Judy Effect.....
First, I asked myself why. Besides being a product of my environment, why am I so critical of others?
1) I am critical of myself.
2) I anticipate judgement from others.
3) Its easier to point out the flaws of others.
4) I am insecure and judging others makes me feel better about myself.
5) I believe people are good or bad. There are no gray areas.
Now what do I do with this information??
I go to God.
Nothing is more humbling than seeing the ugly parts of yourself. But what's amazing is knowing that no matter how ugly some parts of me are, God still loves me. He desires to be in relationship with me, so he can make those ugly parts beautiful, and recieve all the glory.
For so long I have held strong opinions of people based on trivial things, from their ability to withstand spicy food to their questionable appreciation of mumble rap *cringe* (God is still working on me)! But these things don't matter at all. They are simply foolish standards I have used to weigh another person's value.
Now, when I meet or see someone who's outfit, behavior, or opinion I don't agree with, I remind myself of this: God loves them. (1 John 4:7-8).
Allowing myself to see people through God's eyes removes all self righteousness. I am in no place to look down on anyone. God is the only judge. (Psalms 138:6)
I also ask myself this: Is this person hurting me? Are they hurting themselves or anyone else? No? Then its none of my business.
When we mind our own business, we live a stress free life!
The last thing I've recently started to do is find the good. Instead of thinking or saying the first negative thought that comes to my mind, I find something positive. There is always a silver lining no matter how thin. Find it and cling to it! Soon enough positive thoughts will become my first instinct.
Per usual here are some songs related to the topic! I keep referring to Jonathan McReynolds' Make Room album, becuase its so relatable! Please check it out when you can, however you stream music!
Are you a Judge Judy too? The bible says, "Judge not, that you be not judged." (Matthew 7:1). Let's work on not being too critical of others, so that God may be gracious towards us on the final day of judgement.
I also want to know if there is ever a time when judging is okay? Can our judgement ever be commissioned by God? How? Let's consider this.
I appreciate you for taking the time to read this and I hope it ministered to you in some way. Happy Sunday and God bless!!