There is a famous poem by Dale Wimbrow called, ‘The Guy in the Glass” and there is a famous song by Michael Jackson called, “Man in the Mirror” both focused on the judgments we assign to ourselves. The reason both works are so important is because their messages point us back to things we think about ourselves, indeed the judgments we conclude as true about who we are. The problem with our self-judgments is that they are typically not true, but rather a compendium of other people’s judgments we have assumed as our own. Judgment runs rampant in the world today. People are quick to point out your flaws because they have been trained to focus on their own flaws. People judge your socioeconomic status, your standing and station in life (i.e. whether you are above or below them), your acceptability or reasons for rejection, your attractiveness quotient, your body shape and size, whether you are good or evil (as an all or nothing proposition) and finally your value as a human being. In this, you and I are submerged and swallowed up in judgment day by day whether we recognize it or not. Each days holds an opportunity or multiple opportunities for people to take shots at you either in cruelty and meanness or disguised and wrapped up in humor. Not only do you become the butt of the joke, but worse an assault is being made on who you are. For this reason it is incumbent upon us to learn how to make proper judgments about ourselves and even more so, how to properly discern and reject others’ judgments of us. Thus, the judgments of the man or the woman in the mirror become paramount.
Since we were children we have been subjected to other people’s opinions about who we are. It began with our parents assigning to us whether we were “good” or “bad” instead of teaching us how to behave in a good way as opposed to behaving in bad or wrong ways. But, regardless of a child’s behavior, the parent’s responsibility is to shape the child’s belief in his or herself in a positive light. If behaviors alone defined who we were, we would all fall short. Belief systems are formed very early on and you as a parent hold the most weight in determining how your child will judge him or herself. Negative patterns formed early in youth will be difficult to excavate. Add to this the socialization process of schools and grade based rankings from teachers, coupled with the judgments from the other children, generally worsening in middle and high school and you have the perfect recipe for insecure adults. This all happens because it is the pattern of the systems of the world. It is certainly not God’s way. Parents therefore have a serious responsibility in terms of what they say and how they treat their children. Words from other people, especially those we love and trust carry a disproportionate weight in terms of determining our self-worth and value in our own eyes and heart.
Once we are grown up so to speak we enter society and the workforce where the negative conditioning worsens and accelerates. People use words like missiles to denigrate other people typically because that is how they have been trained to think and thus speak. The most critical people; those who judge everyone and everything, are the same people that judge themselves with similar or worse judgments. Most folks, behind the scenes of course, are brutally cruel with themselves. They pick themselves apart all day long and it’s no wonder they react so angrily when they meet with criticism from other people that matches what they have been thinking about themselves all along. The problem isn’t so much the other people as we are all in the same boat, but rather the things we think and conclude about ourselves. Sadly, we are the ones that are accepting and believing other people’s judgments and we are the ones rehearsing those ideas in our minds and hearts.
“For it isn’t your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Who judgement upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.” (Excerpt)
You and I have to learn how to think differently about ourselves. Our childhood is long past and no matter what we were subjected to during those formative years, now that we have grown up, we can and must change those beliefs. Beliefs form by the things we tell ourselves and the things we feed our minds. God didn’t say you were fat, the world did! When other people judge you, they do so from their own vantage point heavily influenced by their own thoughts about themselves. God tells us in His Word not to judge other people. We can certainly judge behaviors, but it is not up to us to determine another person’s value. How could you? How could I? We only know what we see and hear and most likely that only represents a tiny snippet of another person’s life. So, don’t put so much weight on what other people say and think about you. They have no right to judge you even if they are your family or the people you hold most dear. They have no right to do so and when they do so they are merely cooperating with evil by being unaware of what is behind all of the negative judgment and criticism. The world, the systems of the world have a plan, namely to make a man or a woman less than the beautiful creation God has made them to be. Evil seeks to diminish man, created in the image of God, by accusing him and judging him (through people, media and social media) until he, the man, levels those same judgments upon himself. In this we cheat and rob ourselves of the glorious existence God has prepared for us. We are contradicting who God says we really are.
The spiritual reality behind negative self-judgment is very clear. To counter this God has given us His Word. His Word explains how He gave us His only begotten son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who died to pay for every single thing that was ever wrong with you and me. In this God once and for all eliminated the need for us to live in perpetual judgment concerning ourselves. He simply laid all of our sins (past, present and future), all of our human-nature flaws, every mistake, shortcoming and failure on him thereby doing for us what we could never do for ourselves. We judge ourselves by this standard and by this standard alone. When Jesus Christ said it was finished, he meant it. In his life, death and resurrection, he forever freed us from the tyranny and cruelty of pervasive negative self-judgment, authored by the enemy of mankind, the devil. We no longer need to spend our every waking second evaluating, analyzing and judging our every move. We no longer need to be subject to the endless judgments of man, but instead rely solely on the judgment of God, who has (past tense) in Christ Jesus made us forevermore righteous in His sight.
My friends, you have to learn the truth about who you are and with that understanding begin to view yourself in a different light. God did this for you and me to help us to overcome. Outside of what God did by His grace we can never be free of judgment. Do not allow people to make negative judgments about who you are and at minimum, if you cannot confront it, stop listening to it and embracing it. How silly for you and me to cleave to the weakness and inability we had when we were children. How foolish it becomes to carry around all of those myths you developed long ago concerning who you are. How ridiculous it is to think that you cannot trust yourself and your own judgments in life’s circumstances, thereby concluding you are always wrong and desperately need the approval and blessing of other people in order to pursue your life’s dreams. What you think about yourself and who you think you are carries an immeasurable weight in determining how your life will turn out. Start seeing yourself as God sees you and quit relying on your own limited thoughts and the limited thoughts of those around you. You are God’s masterpiece and that is a verdict worth holding onto. You are God’s best. Tell the man in the mirror that!
Just some good thoughts…