HERE COMES THE JUDGE. . .
It was a song, a statement, and a comedy routine. First made popular by a man who called himself Pigmeat Markham during the Ed Sullivan show in the 1950s. Here Comes The Judge was later performed by Sammy Davis , Jr. and is the rendition I remember. So began my reflections.
How many new people do you see or meet on any given day? Ever notice how the ability to sum up a person in an instant solely by outward appearance is rather automatic? It’s like they enter the courtroom of our minds as a defendant and we act as judge. Immediately there’s a generalized evaluation of the person. It’s a mental image we form without effort. The data bank in our brain scans all past experiences, relationships, knowledge, sights, smells etc., and spits out information to form an opinion completely on first sight. This process occurs instantly WITHOUT EFFORT. Ever notice that? Think about what percentage of these ‘auto-opinions’ are positive? Left to our own devices, each of us can be quite cruel.
I see hundreds of people a day on my job and skads more when I’m out and about. Each person I encounter is unique and crafted in the very image of God. (see Genesis 1:27) They are precious souls whom our great Father in heaven dearly loves. In my mind I know these truths but I must daily, even moment by moment DETERMINE to keep them at the forefront of my mind with every person I meet. This requires diligence on my part to remain alert and in the moment. If I do this, I can share His love and kindness with everyone I meet. I can FLURISH through my day allowing His Holy Spirit to love through me. I exchange my natural negatives of selfishness and pride for HIS divine positives of love and grace to fulfill the truth of Galatians 2:20; “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” New Living translation
If I fail to execute this mental/spiritual exercise, I can slip into the lazy thinking of my humanness. It is much easier to let my mind drift in auto-pilot. I can devalue every person in front of me automatically by my own flawed data banks. The ruler of my untrustworthy heart metes out narrow stereotypes far too fast. And unfortunately my judgements are not always positive and certainly not accurate. There’s also a temptation here because it can feel good and powerful to sit on the Judges Bench. No one can hurt you there because this Bench is bullet proof. We can hide our own flaws if we stay behind the bench and focus on the flaws of others. Far too often the bench can become a habitual thinking pattern. Perhaps you find yourself sitting on the Judge’s Bench?
If we desire to FLURISH as Christ followers we need to step down from the Bench and walk out of the courtroom. There’s only one completely fair Judge and someday each of us will stand before Him. “Why do you criticize and pass judgement on your brother? Or why do you look down upon or despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgement seat of God.” Romans 14:10 Amplified Bible
For me it is an ongoing battle to stay out of the courtroom and consistently remain proactive to view and love others as Christ does. HE knows and understands us. He gives us grace. So we should at least try to understand and offer grace to those whose paths we cross. We are not to judge others unless we want to be judged in the same way. We should expect judgement from others if we insistently sit on the Bench. “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” Matthew 7:1&2 New Living Translation
Choose now how you will view the people in your life. Give up your gavel, robe and bench. Hand them over to the one true Judge who loves all of us the same. Allow Him to purify your thought life. Someday you will be glad you did.
“So don’t make judgements about anyone ahead of time— before the Lord returns. For He will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.” I Corinthians 4:5 New Living Translation