Ice Cube once sang “Check yourself before you wreck yourself.” Provided the “yourself” includes a positional righteousness in Christ, I’d have to agree. If you don’t check yourself to see whether you are really resting in Christ’s righteousness, you will wreck yourself. And it will be your fault, not the fault of the “judges.” Whether on American Idol or the judge next door.
Last week I watched American Idol contestant Jermaine Jones get kicked off the show for having 4 (undisclosed) outstanding arrest warrants. The two Brit producers indicated that they want contestants to be honest in disclosing all the dirty details of the past.
A few thoughts crawled around my mind and dropped here and there like the termites currently infesting my study at church.
1.) If you have outstanding warrants, is the best place to hide, or rather run from them, a very popular nationally televised singing competition? This article explains the warrants and the reason they were issued were not of such a grave nature that authorities would actually chase Mr. Jones down. So I guess the moral of the story is that its OK-depending upon the severity of the crime-to not show up for court. Sometimes. I guess he didn’t shoot the sheriff, or the deputy (allegedly) like Bob Marley did. Good to know that if you have any outstanding warrants, that shouldn’t necessarily make you shy away from American Idol (so long as you tell them) or any other reality show. Land of the free.
2.) If you do watch the video, you feel beyond uncomfortable for this joker. The two Brits try to take the high road by telling him that they are all about giving second chances. They confess that they actually care about Jermaine, and the contestants. I’m guessing a better way of “caring” would have been to address this privately? It’s pretty fascinating, for lack of a better word, that even Christians can say (and think) we are doing something for the good of another, yet at the same time NOT be doing it for the good of another. Since this was not a public offense before an American audience, the American audience didn’t need to be privy to this. Matthew 18 is a good example of how Jesus instructs us to say the hard things necessary to offending parties, but to do so privately. The scriptures always give parameters, like “speaking truth in love” as well as structures and frameworks (Matthew 18; I Cor 5) which allow the sentiment and activity to be consistent with the gospel.
3.) I’ll never cease to be amazed by the “I’m not judging you” comments that non-Christians and unfortunately many Christians cherish hearing. Yet I shouldn’t be amazed, because it makes complete sense. The two Brits adamantly say something to the effect of “We’re kicking you off the show, because of your undisclosed arrests, but we’re not judging you.” Uhh….I think Jermaine would have rather been judged BUT kept on the show….But there is a reason why folks so often have to preface everything with “I’m not judging you,” and expect one in return: God’s righteousness or lack thereof.
Paul writes of the Jews in Romans 10:3, he says, “They did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own.” Inevitably if you are not declared righteous by God, or actually believe you are declared righteous by God, you will seek your own and be slave to the judgments of others. You will seek a righteousness that comes by some sort of works (rather “good” or “bad”). You will. And this is case in point why unbelievers always feel such a need to say, “I’m not judging you….” They expect it in return. They need it.
But if God does declare Jesus’ record to count as your record (for the Christian), you don’t need to bothered by other’s judgments. In fact, when we are bothered by their judgments, it is because we DON”T believe like we say we believe. The problem is not with the other person judging us. The problem is our lack of belief that God doesn’t judge us. Who cares if someone judges you? I confess I do, sometimes. Ok, maybe more than I like to admit. But it is stupid and irrational, isn’t it?