I weigh every day. I don’t stand on a scale and either scream for joy or agony (usually it’s the latter), but I certainly weigh. I weigh my options. I weigh situations and possible outcomes. And, perhaps most of all, I weigh people. I hold them to a standard and measure them according to that standard.
Say, for instance, I meet someone who’s Christian. I add a weight to the positive side of the scale. As I get to know her, I discover she’s _______ (insert any denomination here). If she’s not my denomination, I add a weight to the negative side. Unless she belongs to that arsenic-sipping, snake-bite-encouraging, do-the-hokey-pokey-down-the-aisles church and speaks in “tongues” that sound an awful lot like the lyrics to “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (true story of a high school experience I’d rather forget). If she attends that church, then I usually just kick over her scale and walk away. There’s probably nothing she could do to “earn” plus-side pings.
Let’s just say, for giggles, that she is the same denomination. All is kosher. We are a couple of Chatty Cathys, discussing the Bible between sips of tea and bites of crumpets. But then she does the unthinkable. She tells me which church she attends. And, gasp, it’s that one. The one with the pastor who has an earring and wears flip-flops, and smoke machines fill the stage during worship. The one where the youth center is just this side of smaller and with slightly fewer rides than Six Flags. The one I have never attended but have heard through the grapevine (the grapevine “good” Christians produce, because, after all, only good Christians produce fruit, so the grapevine—even though it’s rooted in GOSSIP—must be righteous) that it’s a hotbed of foolishness. Ping ping ping. Suddenly, this woman who had the potential for bestie-hood becomes persona non grata in my circle.
It’s a constant, never-ending battle. All day long I tip the scales according to my standards (or mood). No wonder I’m so tired. Carrying around all these extra weights and scales is quite the burden.
On Saturday, in my booth with Lady Di, a large group of people descended on my quaint, quiet coffee shop in full on baby-shower mode, armed with cupcakes and chaos. Stonewood isn’t small, but it’s not party central. My mood plummeted, my blood pressure spiked, and my scales, well, let’s just say the negative-side pinging wore out my arm. Di and I considered leaving. But we stopped. And waited. We knew that God is bigger than our anger. He is bigger than our frustrations. He is bigger than any coffee shop or baby shower.
In the midst of the noise and the kids playing hide-and-seek under the tables, the truth of God’s Word smacked me out of my arrogance. Proverbs 20:23 tells us, “The Lord detests double standards; he is not pleased by dishonest scales.” My scales are anything but honest. They are a direct reflection of my heart. Each time I weigh someone, I judge them.
God might as well have written, “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin” in my spiral. I’m no King Belshazzar, hosting orgies and drinking from the holy Temple cups, but I’m still a sinner. If God were to weigh me on His scale, I’d be lacking. There’s only One Judge. And it certainly isn’t me.
I read an interesting article that includes an explanation of John 5 from Ray C. Stedman. He refers to verse 27 where Jesus informs the Pharisees that His Father has “given him authority to judge everyone because he is the Son of Man”. Stedman clarifies: “In other words, because he has now become a man and understands how we live, how we feel and what we face, he has the right to pass judgment on whether we should have the gift of life or remain in death. It is because Jesus came among us that he understands us. He knows the pressures and the problems we face, therefore he knows clearly when we have reached the place where we are ready to give up depending on ourselves and are able to receive the gift of life.”
He has the right to pass judgment. I do not. He bore the cross. I did not.
One of my resolutions this year was to lose weight. Maybe the first thing I need to lose is the scale.