Don’t Judge Me

American Idol

This week Jermaine Jones was dismissed from American Idol. The “Gentle Giant’s” dismissal from the show came after it was revealed that he has at least 5 outstanding arrest warrants.

While it isn’t the worst scandal in the history of American Idol, it is certainly one of the most interesting to come along since we said goodbye to those felonius Brittenum twins in 2006.

This week, Jermaine Jones leaves Fox’s hit show and heads home to New Jersey- where he will finally appear in court to answer for a string of crimes allegedly committed over the past 6 years.

For those of you not familiar with our legal system, a person does not immediately go to prison after being arrested for a crime. While they may initially spend a night in jail during their booking, if they can post the required bail money, they are often allowed to go home while they await their arraignment and trial.

If a person fails to appear before the court to discuss their infractions at the set times, a warrant will be issued for their arrest and legal confinement.

After being arrested several times on controlled substance charges, the 25 year-old Mr. Jones never appeared for his preliminary court dates. In fact, as he continued to be arrested or questioned for new infractions, he used aliases to keep from being apprehended for his ever —increasing amount of outstanding warrants.

His first arrest took place in 2006 with his most recent being November of 2011. Those of you who follow Idol religiously can correctly calculate that he was arrested between his successful audition and his trip to Hollywood.

It’s hard to be angry at Idol for failing to discover that Jones was a fugitive from justice. After all, the entire state of New Jersey was having a difficult time locating a man who is 6’8″.

Compounding the difficulty is the fact that Jones lied to American Idol producers the same way that he was lying to correctional officers.

When confronted about his failure to disclose the information to Idol producers, Jermaine Jones sympathetically responded,

“I didn’t want to get judged… I didn’t want to get penalized for anything that happened in the past.”

While understandable, Jones’ statements about his misdeeds as “something that was in the past” don’t necessarily ring true under examination.

For example, Mr. Jones’ problems aren’t actually in his past. While many of his alleged crimes may have taken place in the past, they were actually occurring during the time that he was supposed to be honest with the producers. This means that they were actually “present problems” with “future implications.”

Alongside this is the fact that Jermaine Jones doesn’t actually have a fear of being judged. He’s a man actively engaged in attempts to appear on a show that was going to spend nearly 6 months judging him.

If he was being brutally honest, Jermaine Jones would have said, “I don’t want to be judged if I’m not going to win.”

Which merely proves that Jermaine Jones is every bit as human as you and I are.

We all desire to be judged, we just don’t want to be judged and then fail.

Consider how we spend our money? Don’t we purchase things that we know will be pleasing to others?

Aren’t manners another way that we hope to be positively evaluated?

Which is why it is also sounds hollow when a person exclaims, “Don’t judge me!” in self-defense.

What we really ought to be saying is, “I don’t want to look bad” and/or “You don’t have the right to speak to me this way”.

Each of us desires to be measured when we believe that we can pass muster, but when we can’t forecast success, we recoil from evaluation or attempt to invalidate a process that simply illustrated our failure.

In recent years it’s become fashionable to quote Jesus on the subject of judgement, especially when someone has failed.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” -Matthew 7:1-2

While it’s never a bad thing to turn to Jesus for information and inspiration, I’ve noticed that we’ve begun quoting Jesus as a defensive escape option whenever the evaluation process begins.

I’d like to point out that there’s a difference between evaluation and judgement: Judgement is the pronouncement of a fate or destiny, whereas evaluation is merely a process in which determinations are made.

This week Jermaine Jones was evaluated, it was determined that he could no longer participate because he was in violation of the rules. He was judged accordingly, he has since been returned to live out the consequences of his life choices.

Both of these processes were legally and morally valid because the producers of the show are vested with the power and authority to accomplish these things.

Jesus wasn’t saying that federal judges could not pass judgement. He wasn’t saying that leaders can’t make pronouncements. He also wasn’t saying that human beings aren’t to be making evaluations.

What Jesus was saying is that none of us have been vested with the power and authority to make a pronouncement about another person’s fate or destiny…

…because that power belongs to God alone.

Jesus isn’t forbidding anyone from saying that Jermaine Jones has broken the law, but he is strictly forbidding us from saying that Jermaine Jones is nothing but a substance abusing criminal and that’s all he’ll ever be.

Judgement, consigning someone to a fate based on our opinion, is wicked because it puts us in the position of God and then beckons us to abuse a power that we don’t have…

…because none of us is beyond God’s grace and mercy.

Judging others can also be inaccurate because it adds up the past and then assumes that we can then use it to accurately predict someone else’s certain future.

History is the sum total of our efforts, so the past is overly important to humankind.

Because destiny is unknown to every person but God, our future belongs to him.

Since decisions can only be made in the present, today is meant for evaluation not judgement.

Jermaine Jones was using his present to hide from a past that would derail his future, and that was paralyzing his ability to be all that he could be.

The good news is that now he’s lost the option to run, good decisions in the present can lead him to a righteous destiny.

Don’t judge him.

One Response to “Don’t Judge Me”

  1. Leslie D. Martin March 16, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    “What Jesus was saying is that none of us have been vested with the power and authority to make a pronouncement about another person’s fate or destiny…”

    Ah, you touched on what so many who choose to misquote the verse (including, sadly, many preachers) ignorantly or intentionally dismiss: We are not being told to refrain judging peoples actions, attitudes and beliefs: we are told to refrain from being judge, jury and executioner all rolled into one. And those same misquoters ignore the fact that the same Jesus told his disciples (after having sent them out to various cities) that if they were not received in a town to leave and curse the town. The misquotes ignore the times that the disciples made judgements — worse, shared those judgements with others (as in Paul warning of those who had betrayed the faith and done harm to others as a result). Seems hardly consistent with the popular interpretation of judge not, but rather based on a redefinition of the phrase “don’t judge” as meaning “don’t say anything about me that I don’t like because I’ll call it a hate crime if you do.”

Leave a Reply:

XHTML: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>