Again, fill in the brackets with your own word. Early risers, ultra-marathoners, from-scratch bakers, people without a sweet tooth, and people who lift their hands while singing at Church would be my go-to ones. There is nothing wrong with any of the above categories, yet I often feel like there’s something wrong with me that I’m not in their club. Each of these sounds really, really good to me, I’m just not sure how to get there, and so my energy goes into judging how far better they must be than me – rather than maybe taking a step or two in their direction.
So the question is, are [they] better people? In theory, no. In practice, I’m tempted to say yes, but wait! The root of the question is, “who is judging?” Is it your favourite magazine that’s judging? Is it your teenage self? Is it that person you’ve never really connected with, who only sees your surface?
What if it is God who judges? (See Romans 8:31-39 –Oremus Bible Browser ) Ultimately we know it is God who judges – but whose judgment matters more to you today? Your fashion or health magazine is certainly hoping that you aren’t hearing a voice that says you’re fine just as you are – that’s bad for business. Your teenage self is so insecure, s/he probably shouldn’t be driving your thoughts and emotions. That person who knows only a little of you? They only know a little of you. Don’t be afraid of their judging; get to know them (they’re wondering if you judge them, too) or let them go.
Ultimately, and today, it is God who judges – God, who created, who sent Christ to gather and redeem, who forgives, who offers both to accept us as we are and to open doors to who God made us to be.
I have a tattoo on my right calf (yes, I have a tattoo… stay with me here…) of the Chinese characters for “Beautiful Friend.” A beautiful friend is there with us, and if they judge us, it is with love and hope and compassion. My tattoo reminds me that God is my Beautiful Friend. It also reminds me of the human beautiful friends who have shown me what life is all about. And it reminds me that what I want, more than being an early riser or ultra-marathoner, is to be a Beautiful Friend to others. Not so that I can count myself as “better” but so that I know my voice counts toward the good in this all-too-judgmental world.