Thursday, September 8, 2016

And Let the JUDGING Begin

As in every year since I was a little girl, I'll be watching the glitz and glam, seeing who wins all those scholarships and finding out who takes home the crown of the Miss America pageant this Sunday night on ABC. I was starstruck by those beautiful, smart and talented young women vying to be the next Miss America. I'd watch and "judge" from my sofa, select my favorite, and hope she'd be the winner. With great anticipation, I'd hear the names of the runners up and hope I had "judged" accurately. What an andrenaline rush it was when I was right. Then hearing Bert Parks sing "There she is...Miss America. There she is....your ideal." All that pomp and circumstance was so exciting!

In 1995, my husband and I were cheering so loud for that adorable redhead from Oklahoma who was beautiful, poised, confident and radiant. We never imagined that just a few years later THAT GIRL, Shawntel Smith, would become "the love of our boy's life"! She won our hearts in the 1996 pageant, and soon the love of our hearts forever!

I understand that those young women are scrutinized to the nth degree. Those judges carry huge responsibities. We just witnessed the Olympics where judges determined the results in many of those events. Dreams came true and others whose performance just didn't measure up, were disappointed. I think about the "reality show" talent and sports competitions where judges play a huge role in whether or not those competitors win or lose by just the smallest margin.

Many of us feel judged on a daily basis -- from our bosses, co-workers, friends, family and acquaintances -- by the way we look and the way we act. People can and will have opinions, but we should never doubt ourselves, but have absolute faith in who we are and never should we let another’s “idea” become our reality. And neither should we judge others. We don't know their reality either. That cranky cashier's world could be falling apart. "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." Matthew 7:1

Many of us think of God as a judge who is always judging us. We see Him rewarding us for our goodness and how much faith we have, and punishing and disciplining us for our mistakes,

Bottom line, unlike talent or beauty or sports competitions, God doesn't scrutinize us. He always responds to us in love. Isn't that good news? What counts to Him is that we come to Him. It's true He rewards those of us who believe and who diligently seek Him. He still loves us even when our faith is weak and we doubt and worry or are afraid. All He asks is for us is to come to Him. He will give Himself to us. No, He doesn't judge us with a scoring system. He is loving, embracing and teaching us to be the best we can be -- and He's handing us much more than a crown. In Isaiah 62:3, we read that we ARE a crown...."You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God."