May I have your attention, please. Stop what you are doing and join the crowd of 100 MILLION people worldwide who have been inspired, moved, and/or encouraged by this video:
Of course most of you have probably already seen this viral phenomenon that chronicles a moment on Britain's Got Talent that has captured worldwide attention.
But if you are really honest with yourself, I would guess that you had the same initial reaction to Susan Boyle that the audience, judges, and probably everyone else in the known universe had – which would be:
"Are you serious? A 47 year old classic example of a 'cat lady' who has never been kissed and thinks she has a shot at competing on this show???"
Then, at the 1:56 mark, Susan belts out the first notes of "I Dreamed a Dream" and dropped a talent BOMB on the judges that blew away any previous doubt.
And did you see that Simon Cowell actually smiled??? Now you know that miracles are possible!
And so now Susan skyrockets from unemployed church volunteer to a worldwide hope for achieving her dream and becoming a singing sensation.
When I think about this whole Susan Boyle juggernaut, one word keeps coming to mind –
There are judges on Britain's Got Talent. There were judging looks from the audience, and there were judging thoughts inside of you and me.
And they were obviously wrong. People judged Susan from the outside in, but that judgment turned from rolling eyes and ridicule to smiles and praise in less than 2 minutes when her angelic voice crashed through the stereotypes and created a very cool moment for the world to enjoy.
So, boys and girls…what can we learn from all this Boyle-Mania? Well for me, I saw an ugly side of my heart that goes directly against God's simple guide for how we should look at and treat each other:
Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults- unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt? It's this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor (Matthew 7:1-5 The Message).
It really didn't take any time at all after I first clicked the play button to judge Susan by outward appearances and guessing how big of a train wreck her audition would probably turn out to be.
Why is it that we have this awful tendency to judge people by appearances, stereotypes, and uninformed opinions? Because we all have an element to us that we'd rather not admit to owning. Out of insecurity and lack of self confidence, we use others less 'attractive' and 'talented' to artificially boost our weak egos. That's why Jesus gives us a plain and simple warning:
The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged (Matthew 7:2).
In other words, what goes around, comes around. And when we let the judgmental voices sing superior songs in our heads, you can bet there will be judgment coming back our way.
What kind of world would it be if we took this simple principle from Jesus and made it a daily habit not to judge others by appearance or in a hypocritical way? Well, it would be a world without hatred, fear, racism, and prejudices.
It would be a world that feels like the Susan Boyle video - when everyone realized they were wrong to judge and found joy in the fact that they were sharing in a moment of beauty that has nothing to do with outward appearances.
So the next time you hear the name Susan Boyle, remember that there is pure value and magnificence inside each and every person, because we are made in God's image, and truly we are all the same on the inside.
And that's a dream worth dreaming!
Flashpoint: Ignite into Action
Susan Boyle is a great example of someone who was judged by outward appearances, only to completely surprise people after they saw her heart and her giftedness. In many ways, the world looks at Christ followers like they initially did with Susan Boyle - basically a joke who doesn't belong. Let's go out and show people our heart and use the gifts and talents God gave us to share the gospel message of grace and blow the world's perception away! Also, of all people on earth, Christians should be most aware of our sinfulness, which should then help us not judge others, either by outward appearance or by a self-righteous, hypocritical manner - and also motivate us to share the gospel message of Jesus Christ.
Accelerant: Feed the Fire
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven (Luke 6:37).
Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand (Romans 14:4).
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God (1 Corinthians 4:5).