I suppose that feeling judged is bound to happen at some point.
At least, if you choose to live a life in which you interact with other humans. Although, even Tarzan, who was raised by gorillas, probably felt judged for not being a gorilla.
Yeah, so judgement. It's so simple to condemn others for their differences. It's a pretty easy place to go. Just as accessible as those other touristy locations, Fear and Pride. Yep, I hear you can travel to any one of those and hop to their sister locations with no extra charge. I hear it's really easy.
But I don't want to live like that. I don't want those thoughts clouding my mind, distorting my relationships, keeping me from expecting brilliance from each person I come across.
I want to expect good things from others, just like I'd hope people would expect that from me.
I'd hope being the operative words there. Doesn't always happen, though. Not in this world. And let me tell you, it's not fun to be on the receiving of another's judgement. And it generally doesn't bring a ton of goodwill feelings to the situation.
Let me explain.
I recently received a message in my music myspace inbox. It is from somebody who apparently met me years ago when I was playing and singing with a band from my church that is very dear to my heart, Gate Called Beautiful. The fact of the matter is that I still play and sing with them whenever I am at home. They are a part of what makes home home for me. And I am so honored to make music with them--to bless God with them--whenever I am able.
Before I show you her email, please bear in mind that she came to her conclusions after simply looking at my pictures and listening to my music.
I know you don't know me, but I know you. I was checking to see if ECA or Gate Called Beautiful was still around. But I guess I could assume they are long gone by the looks of it. I googled you name because I had one of the cd's you made from way back when. I must say I am sad to see the changes that you have made in your life. You don't seem anything like the pesron I met and who my friends met in all of those summer training camps. Either way, I hope you are doing well, and I hope that you find God and let Him lead you back to Him and separate you from the world...and not fall more into it. I know the day is coming when Christ will return for His church. Will you be ready? God bless.
Well, being me, I of course had a lot to say in my reply...
Hi. Um, yeah you are right that I do not know you. At all. And I find it funny that you say you know me, because judging from your email, I would say that you really don't.
Why would you say that I don't seem anything like the person you met way back when? Why would you write that you hope I "find God and let Him lead me back to Him and separate me from the world...and not fall more into it"?
How can you possibly begin to think that you know the state of my heart, or to where God has called me by looking at some myspace pictures? Or listening to my music? Or worse--how can you judge and decide how very far "into the world" I have fallen AFTER viewing those pics and listening to my music?
I find this amazing, actually.
Not nearly the same kind of amazing that I find grace to be, though.
And although you have not asked, the truth is that I LOVE God. I am absolutely convinced that it is His grace and peace and hope that keeps this world together. And I am so honored to be working in a medium that is close to his heart: I tell stories.
Stories that move people. Makes them laugh. Makes them sad. Gives them a glimpse into the lives of others and accordingly, drums up something akin to compassion in their heart. I am doing musical theater professionally and I know without a doubt that God has opened this door for me.
How small minded to assume that the only way to "minister" to people--which, let's face it, is just a fancy way to say helping our neighbor--is the kind that is done underneath a church spire. If that were the case, then there would be so many people--dear friends of mine who, at this point for one reason or another, has not found their way into a church--that I would not be blessed to call friends. To love. To be gracious towards, to share myself with and therefore the God-stuff within me.
Please feel free to ask me any questions. About the important stuff--you know, the state of my heart. My relationship with God. The things that just might not be as evident as you'd think from viewing my myspace page.
I hope this finds you well. Sincerely, Jessica
Her little message did take me aback. It also has caused me to examine my own heart; finding some unfairness towards others there, I am wanting to practice grace a little harder.
Because bottom line, it sucks to feel judged. Especially when you aren't even given the courtesy of a conversation, a dialogue, a moment in their presence--something! Anything that actually reveals your heart. Anything that can dispel the misguided assumptions we make as effortlessly as we open our eyes first thing every day and begin to see.
Because the fact is we don't always see. Or when we do, we see dimly. Or partly. Or barely at all. And I am sure I don't need to remind you what we make of ourselves when we assume, right?
That's what I thought.
Anyway, any thoughts on this matter that you would like to add? You know I like hearing from you;-)